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Cablegate: 2010 Trafficking in Persons Information for Iraq

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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
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FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6607
RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI 0005
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 2331
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 0696
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS 0023
RUEHDO/AMEMBASSY DOHA 0110
RUEHKU/AMEMBASSY KUWAIT 0668
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 0271
RUEHYN/AMEMBASSY SANAA 0031
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 08 BAGHDAD 000385

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TIP LAURA PENA INL DRL PRM NEA RA KTIP
KCRM, PHUM, KWMN, SMIG, KFRD, ASEC, PREF, ELAB, KMCA
SUBJECT: 2010 TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS INFORMATION FOR IRAQ

REF: A. STATE 02094
B. BAGHDAD 2886

1. (SBU) Summary: This is post's summary of trafficking in
persons activities for the period of mid- February 2009 to
mid-February 2010. Despite numerous issues facing the
Government of Iraq (GOI) during this reporting period, it has
taken decisive steps towards addressing the issue of human
trafficking. While the GOI struggled to prepare for March
2010 elections and cope with ongoing difficulties with
establishing rule of law and improving security, it formed an
interagency committee to combat trafficking, began a public
awareness campaign at youth centers and schools, and drafted
legislation to increase the penalties for those engaged in
trafficking and to assist trafficking victims. In January
2010, the GOI's comprehensive anti-trafficking draft
legislation experienced some movement and is soon to be
passed to the Committee for Human Rights and Committee for
Legal Affairs in the Council of Representatives. While
formidable political, social, and cultural challenges to
substantively addressing trafficking in persons in Iraq
remain, GOI entities, led by officials in the Ministry of
Human Rights, are actively trying to make progress on raising
awareness of TIP, while NGO and civil society actors focus on
assisting victims. End summary.

IRAQ'S TIP SITUATION
----------------------

2A. (SBU) Post stresses that while there have been
isolated, generally single-source, media reports describing
instances of trafficking for the purpose of sexual
exploitation in Iraq, as well as the related issues of
prostitution, forced marriage, honor killings, and child and
bonded labor, there has been no sustained or in-depth
reporting by any source on the issue of trafficking in
persons in Iraq. While anecdotal information collected from
NGOs, judges, GOI contacts, and media reports indicate that
trafficking in persons is a hidden problem, Embassy Baghdad
has no way to verify information or estimates of trafficking,
or to identify trends. Anti-trafficking draft legislation
prepared by the GOI in 2009 called for the formation of an
interministerial committee to prepare reports on human
trafficking. The legislation also included a provision for
the formation of sub-committees in each Iraqi province to
submit information and recommendations on human trafficking
to the central committee.

B. Iraq is both a country of origin and destination for
men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of
commercial sexual exploitation, forced and bonded labor, and
other slave-like conditions. There were no official
statistics, and few non-governmental organizations monitored
or reported on TIP activities. According to our limited
sources, residents of Iraq are trafficked both within Iraq as
well as abroad to Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, UAE,
Turkey, Iran, and possibly Yemen for these purposes. Under
the guise of a work contract in Kuwait, Jordan, or another
Gulf State, non-Iraqi individuals were reportedly brought to
QGulf State, non-Iraqi individuals were reportedly brought to
Iraq from Thailand, Philippines, India, Pakistan, Indonesia,
and Sri Lanka. Over the past year, 14 Ugandan women were
trafficked into Iraq for the purposes of labor exploitation.
These women were told that they would work on U.S. military
bases, although no USG contractors or sub-contractors were
involved in bringing them to Iraq. Based on information
provided by their employer, Uganda Veterans Development, the
company sent more than 100 persons to Iraq to work as
domestic laborers from April 2008 to June 2009. During the
reporting period, Embassy Baghdad received information from a
GOI contact that Iraqi boys have become a source for organ
transplants, and that Baghdad hospitals do not question the
"voluntary" donation of such organs from the boys because
often the father of the boy is present to consent to the
procedure. On a visit to Karada detention facility in 2009,
Embassy Baghdad's DCMAT met two girls who became part of a

BAGHDAD 00000385 002 OF 008


terrorist group that planned to use them as female suicide
bombers. While it is not possible to determine the extent to
which trafficking victims are recruited for the purposes of
organ trafficking and terrorism, these isolated experiences
suggest that there may be connections between trafficking and
these other issues.

C. Trafficking victims and NGO sources report that victims
have been subjected to sexual exploitation, rape, physical
abuse, starvation, and forced and temporary marriage.
Trafficking victims who were brought to Iraq for the purpose
of labor exploitation reported the seizure of their passports
and official documents by their employers, a refusal to honor
employment contracts, and threats of deportation. Some women
and girl trafficking victims face the risk of abuse,
abandonment, or honor killings if their families learn that
they have been raped or forced into prostitution.

D. Limited data suggests that women and young girls are
more at risk of being trafficked for the purposes of
commercial sexual exploitation, though both males and
females, juvenile and adult populations have been targeted by
traffickers. NGO contacts stated that the selling price of a
young girl exceeds that of a young boy, which further
supports this idea. While it is not possible to quantify the
relative susceptibility of particular demographic groups to
trafficking, the Iraqi population contains several vulnerable
groups, including widows, orphans, internally displaced
persons, and the extremely destitute, all of which figure
prominently in anecdotal accounts of trafficking in Iraq.

E. Traffickers include both large crime groups and small,
family-based groups, as well as employment and contracting
agencies. While anecdotal data suggests that traffickers
appear to be predominantly male, some individuals are sold or
trafficked through forced marriages by female family members
in order to escape poverty or debt. A Baghdad prosecutor
revealed that networks of women have been involved in the
trafficking and sale of male and female children for the
purposes of commercial sexual exploitation in Kurdistan and
other Iraqi provinces. This contact also stated that Iraqi
males have taken advantage of the traditional institution of
muta'a (temporary marriage) to traffic multiple women into
other Iraqi provinces or neighboring countries for the
purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. NGO contacts
relate that cross-border trafficking into neighboring
countries relies on an organized network of document forgers,
fixers, and traffickers, and there have been isolated cases
of Iraqi border forces intercepting older men and young girls
attempting to travel together out of Iraq using fake
documents. These contacts postulate that criminal elements
perceive cross-border trafficking as less risky than moving
victims between Iraqi provinces, where there is a greater
likelihood that they will be seen by relatives or
acquaintances.

THE GOI'S ANTI-TIP EFFORTS
QTHE GOI'S ANTI-TIP EFFORTS
---------------------------

3A. (SBU) As evinced by their critical first steps toward
addressing TIP issues, many GOI stakeholders acknowledge that
human trafficking is a problem in Iraq. In July, 2009, after
the publication of the 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report for
Iraq, the Ministry of Human Rights (MOHR) and the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs (MFA) responded to Embassy Baghdad with a
diplomatic note in which the GOI highlighted its actions to
address the issue and stressed the seriousness with which
Iraq views its cooperation and coordination efforts with
regional and international players to fight human trafficking
in Iraq. Strong advocacy, both by MOHR officials as well as
NGOs and key COR members, has established significant, if
occasionally stymied momentum on this issue. Post received
word from GOI contacts that the GOI's comprehensive
anti-trafficking draft legislation had made its way out of
the Shura Council, an advisory body that shapes legislation

BAGHDAD 00000385 003 OF 008


for the Council of Representatives, and was soon to be passed
to the Committee for Human Rights and the Committee for Legal
Affairs in the COR for debate.

B. The anti-trafficking draft legislation prepared by the
GOI in 2009 includes a provision for the formation of The
Supreme Committee to Combat Human Trafficking in the General
Secretariat of the Council of Ministers. This proposed
committee will be headed by the MOHR and includes
representatives from the MFA, Ministry of Labor and Social
Affairs, and the Ministry of Interior. Upon passage of the
bill, this Committee will be responsible for securing
appropriate funds to implement the anti-trafficking
mechanisms and initiatives included in the legislation. The
Ministry of Human Rights currently has the lead in
anti-trafficking efforts.

C. The GOI's lack of capacity to identify and assist
victims, the ongoing challenge of adequately policing Iraq's
numerous, porous borders with neighboring countries, and
formidable obstacles to enforcing security and rule of law
throughout the country limit its ability to address human
trafficking in Iraq. This reporting period was a
particularly critical time for the GOI, as it struggled to
pass an election law and prepare for national elections, a
challenge that diverted attention and resources from other
issues. During the reporting period, explosions targeted the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior,
the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Labor and Social
Affairs, all of which play a critical role in shaping the
GOI's response to TIP issues. Despite this significant
setback, GOI contacts stated that they do not foresee
political obstacles to the passage of anti-trafficking draft
legislation. These contacts expressed confidence that when
the anti-trafficking draft legislation is enacted, most
likely in the year following the March, 2010 elections, the
GOI's inter-ministerial TIP committee will ensure adequate
funding to execute the programs and support mechanisms
described in the draft legislation.

D. In late 2009, the Supreme Committee to Combat Human
Trafficking, an interministerial group set up by the GOI to
address the issue, sent surveys to each of Iraq's provincial
governments in order to quantify the scale and extent of
trafficking across the country. Nearly all the provincial
authorities responded to these surveys by stating that there
were no instances of trafficking in their respective
provinces. A GOI contact on the interministerial committee
to combat trafficking told Poloff that the Committee's survey
revealed problems of ignorance and denial regarding TIP, and
the need to focus more efforts on conducting public awareness
on trafficking to explain the issue to the Iraqi public. To
this end, the Committee is channeling its efforts toward
increasing its programming and training efforts.

E. The MOI's Directorate of Travel and Nationality issues
the Haweea Shaessea Iraqea (Iraqi ID Card), which provides
Qthe Haweea Shaessea Iraqea (Iraqi ID Card), which provides
the date of birth and the names of both parents, in addition
to marital status. This card is reissued at key points in a
person's lifetime, and has various security features to
discourage fraud. The Directorate also issues the Shehadat
Jinseea(Iraqi Nationality Certificate), which is issued once
during a person's lifetime, generally during adolescence.
These two official forms of documentation are the primary
measures the GOI has taken to establish the identity of local
populations. In Northern Iraq, these two forms of
documentation are issued by the Kurdish Regional Government
(KRG) Directorate of Nationality and Civil Identification.

F. The GOI does not currently have a method or requirement
for gathering data required for an in-depth assessment of law
enforcement efforts. The rudimentary nature of rule of law
and law enforcement infrastructure in Iraq poses a
significant challenge to undertaking this type of effort.


BAGHDAD 00000385 004 OF 008


INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF TRAFFICKERS
---------------------------------------------

4A. Various provisions of current Iraqi law apply to
trafficking. The 2005 Iraqi Constitution prohibits forced
labor, slavery, slave trade, trafficking in women and
children, and sex trade. Several provisions of the Penal
Code, dating from 1969, criminalize unlawful seizure,
kidnapping, and detention by force or deception.

-- Article 37(3) of the Iraqi Constitution prohibits "forced
labor, slavery, slave trade, trafficking in women or
children, and sex trade". It is not specific in its
application to various forms of trafficking.

-- Trafficking is not directly addressed in the 1969 Iraqi
Penal Code, but there are at least two articles that could be
applied in certain circumstances. Article 399 of the Penal
Code punishes "any person who incited a boy or girl under the
age of 18 to indulge in fornication or resort to prostitution
as a profession or assists him or her to do so."

-- Article 421, 422, and 423 of the Penal Code prohibit
unlawful seizure, kidnapping, and detention. Article 425
punishes "any person who provides a location for unlawful
detention or imprisonment while being aware of the fact."

-- Article 320 of the Penal Code punishes "any public
official or agent (...) who employs slave labor", but the
intent of the law was to punish misuse of public funds by
government officials.

Since the last TIP report, the GOI has completed drafting
comprehensive, anti-trafficking legislation that imposes
specific penalties on those who commit acts of human
trafficking, announces the formation and duties of an
inter-ministerial committee to address human trafficking, and
describes mechanisms for providing support for victims of
human trafficking. While the legislation is still in draft
form, its proposed penalties for human trafficking are worth
noting. Depending on the nature of the act, prison penalties
will range from temporary to life imprisonment and fines will
range between ID 5,000,000 and ID 250,000,000 (USD 4,335-
USD 216,715). In instances where the act of trafficking
leads to the death of the victim, the proposed punishment for
the trafficker is the death penalty.

B. Article 399 of the Penal Code specifies a prison sentence
not to exceed ten years for "Incitement to Prostitution and
Fornication" when the victim is under the age of 18. Article
393 lists aggravating factors, such as the victim's age, the
number of perpetrators, the victim's virginity, the
relationship between the offender and the victim, and whether
the victim died, became pregnant, or contracted an STD as a
result of the act. If such factors exist, it appears that
the court has the authority to increase the sentence. The
prescribed penalty for kidnapping and detention by force or
deception is up to seven years in prison and up to 15 years
if the victim is a minor and force is used. Although not
specific to trafficking for sexual exploitation, Articles
421, 422, and 423, which cover unlawful seizure, kidnapping,
Q421, 422, and 423, which cover unlawful seizure, kidnapping,
and detention, could have implications for traffickers.
Sentences called for in these articles vary depending on the
age and gender of the victim, but generally range between
10-15 years maximum. Aggravating circumstances, such as
deception, can increase the sentence, and any case involving
sexual intercourse with the victim can result in life
imprisonment or death. Article 425 calls for a period of
imprisonment not to exceed seven years for anyone who
provides a location for unlawful detention. The prescribed
penalty for sexual assault or forced prostitution of a child
is 10 years' imprisonment.

C. There are no laws that specifically cover labor recruiters
or labor agents. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), in

BAGHDAD 00000385 005 OF 008


response to allegations of labor trafficking of Filipinos,
ordered a few companies to cease activities because of these
allegations. The KRG also forced all Kurdish companies to
have direct contracts with the countries from which foreign
laborers originate in order to allow them to contest their
salary within their home court system.

D. Rape was prohibited by Article 393 of the Penal Code; its
penalty is life imprisonment or a period determined by the
Iraqi court. This penalty is stricter than that for sexual
exploitation violations.

E. There is no data on the number of investigations,
prosecutions, convictions, plea bargains, fines, or sentences
imposed against human trafficking offenders. As the GOI's
anti-trafficking draft legislation has not yet been enacted,
human trafficking offenders who were prosecuted by the GOI
were investigated under a variety of different laws relating
to crimes such as kidnapping, rape, or prostitution. No
reliable estimates of these figures exist, since the GOI does
not disaggregate trafficking-related violators from other
offenders.

F. The GOI does not provide any specialized training for law
enforcement and immigration officials on identifying and
treating victims of trafficking or on investigating and
prosecuting trafficking cases.

G. During the reporting period, the GOI attempted to work
with the Government of Uganda (GOU) for the purposes of
obtaining travel documents for 14 Ugandan women who were
trafficked to Iraq in order to facilitate their repatriation.
This process proved cumbersome given that the GOU does not
currently maintain an embassy in Iraq. To facilitate the
process, Embassy Baghdad and Embassy Kampala served as a
go-between for the two governments, and temporary travel
documents acceptable to both governments were obtained with
the assistance of the International Organization for
Migration (IOM) through the International Committee of the
Red Cross (ICRC).

H. The comprehensive anti-trafficking bill not yet ratified
into law by the Council of Representatives, contains a clause
that empowers the GOI to extradite persons back to Iraq for
criminal proceedings. For Arab countries, there is an
established agreement called the "Arab Agreement for Judicial
Cooperation" that includes extradition provisions for all
types of crimes, including human trafficking. According to a
contact in the Shura Council, the GOI is unable to provide
any specific information on the number of extraditions the
GOI has participated in, and the contact stated that he is
not aware of any cases involving trafficking offenders to the
United States.

I. There is no evidence to indicate that GOI officials were
involved in trafficking during the reporting period, though
Iraq's trafficking situation remains a controversial topic in
political circles. GOI contacts theorize that some
politicians avoid discussing TIP because it is an issue on
which the GOI has a weak record, and thus could be used
against politicians in the run-up to elections. These
Qagainst politicians in the run-up to elections. These
contacts further elaborated that some politicians whose
parties have a religious affiliation avoid discussing
divisive topics such as trafficking because they find its
associations to the sex trade morally objectionable.

J. This question does not apply to the TIP report for Iraq.

K. This question does not apply to the TIP report for Iraq.

L. This question does not apply to the TIP report for Iraq.

PROTECTION AND ASSISTANCE TO VICTIMS
------------------------------------


BAGHDAD 00000385 006 OF 008


5A. The GOI is unable under existing law to provide
protection for victims and witnesses of trafficking.
Nevertheless, the anti-trafficking draft legislation awaiting
consideration by the Committee for Legal Affairs does include
a provision that obligates the GOI to help the victims of
human trafficking and respond to the needs of children, by
the following means: referring the victims to a specialist
doctor to examine their health status; providing language
assistance to non-Iraqi victims; providing legal assistance
and advice and instructional information, ensuring the
victims contact their families or their countries of
nationality or NGOs to obtain required assistance; providing
necessary protection for both victims and witnesses;
maintaining the confidentiality of the information related to
the victims and respecting their privacy; providing financial
assistance and temporary residence for the victims;
rehabilitating victims socially, psychologically, and
physically by establishing specialized rehabilitation centers
or care houses; providing training and education,
facilitating victims' stay in Iraq by giving them visas to
reside temporarily in Iraq and, if necessary, travel
documents; and providing diplomatic support for non-Iraqi
victims to facilitate their return to their original
countries.

B. Iraq has NGO-run victim-care facilities and shelters
accessible to trafficking victims, though many of these safe
houses are in hidden or secret locations for the safety and
security of victims. Child trafficking victims also
sometimes utilize the services of these facilities, and
sometimes are placed in shelters, orphanages, foster care, or
juvenile detention facilities. NGOs such as the Asuda
Foundation have shelters that are specifically designated for
victims of trafficking. These facilities are operated
primarily by NGOs and international organizations. Post is
not aware of any publicly funded shelters.

C. The GOI does not provide trafficking victims with access
to legal, medical, and psychological services. The
anti-trafficking draft law currently under consideration by
the Iraqi legislature contains provisions for these services.

D. Currently the GOI does not assist foreign trafficking
victims by providing temporary or permanent residency status,
or other relief from deportation. The GOI's draft
legislation on TIP does include provisions to assist foreign
trafficking victims by providing them visas to reside
temporarily in Iraq or travel documents and diplomatic
support to facilitate their return to their original
countries.

E. The GOI does not provide longer-term shelter or housing
benefits to victims or other resources to aid the victims in
rebuilding their lives.

F. The GOI has a referral system in place to transfer victims
detained, arrested, or placed in protective custody by law
enforcement authorities to institutions that provide short or
long-term care.

G. There are no official estimates of the total number of
trafficking victims in Iraq.
Qtrafficking victims in Iraq.

H. The GOI does not have a single, formalized process for law
enforcement, immigration, and social services personnel to
proactively identify victims of trafficking among high-risk
persons with whom they come in contact. There may be
informal processes within the GOI's numerous departments and
ministries about which Post is unaware.

I. In cases where a trafficking victim willingly participates
in trafficking in order to illegally enter a country of
commit some other offense, there are criminal charges and
penalties under the current GOI penal system, depending on
the particular offense. These persons' rights are respected

BAGHDAD 00000385 007 OF 008


and they are afforded all the appropriate human rights
protections.

J. The GOI does not encourage victims to assist in the
investigation and prosecution of trafficking.

K. The GOI does not provide any specialized training for
government officials in identifying trafficking victims and
in the provision of assistance to trafficked victims.

L. The GOI does not provide assistance, shelter, medical aid,
or financial help to its nationals who are repatriated as
victims of trafficking.

M. Several NGOs and international organizations, as well as
some smaller locally-based grassroots groups, work with
trafficking victims. Many of these organizations run
shelters and provide various types of assistance to
trafficking victims. The MOHR and the Supreme Committee to
Combat Human Trafficking both consult with certain NGOs on
trafficking issues.

PREVENTION
----------

6A. The MOHR engaged in a public awareness campaign on
trafficking during the reporting period. It held workshops
at facilities managed by the Ministry of Youth and Sports,
targeting children. More workshops are planned in the coming
months in various provinces throughout Iraq and an agreement
was reached with the Minister of Education to do similar
activities with Iraqi schools and universities.

B. The GOI does not consistently monitor immigration and
emigration patterns for evidence of trafficking, but there
are reports of isolated instances in which Iraqi border
security forces prevented older men and young girls traveling
together from leaving Iraq using fake documents.

C. The MOHR is trying to prepare a database on trafficking
that would provide the GOI with a better sense of where to
target its anti-trafficking efforts, but contacts stated that
the difficulties of obtaining good information on the problem
are a significant challenge.

D. The anti-trafficking draft legislation presented by the
GOI during this reporting period includes a national plan for
assisting trafficking victims, prosecuting those convicted of
trafficking, and preventing trafficking through the
dissemination of training and public awareness programming.

E. Beyond its attempts to enforce penalties against
prostitution and solicitation, the GOI has not taken specific
measures during the reporting period to reduce the demand for
commercial sex acts.

F. This question does not apply to the Trafficking in Persons
Report for Iraq.

G. This question does not apply to the Trafficking in Persons
Report for Iraq.

PARTNERSHIPS
------------

7A. The Supreme Committee to Combat Human Trafficking
consults with a small group of NGOs and civil society groups
to further its initial inquiries into Iraq's TIP situation.
There are several international and NGO groups, some of which
receive USG funding, that interact with the GOI on TIP
issues. Organizations such as The Protection Project and
Heartland Alliance have received USG funding to work with the
GOI in crafting and advocating for the passage of the
comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation that is soon to be
Qcomprehensive anti-trafficking legislation that is soon to be
passed to the Council of Representatives.

BAGHDAD 00000385 008 OF 008

B. The GOI does not provide dedicated international
assistance to other countries specifically to address TIP.

8. (SBU) COMMENT: The GOI continues to face significant
challenges in its efforts to establish rule of law and
security throughout Iraq. Throughout much of the reporting
period, the GOI struggled to confront the challenge of
continuing terrorism throughout the country, pass an election
law, prepare for elections, and rebuild over half a dozen
ministries that suffered serious damage in terrorist attacks
during the latter half of 2009. Despite these setbacks, the
GOI still managed to achieve movement on comprehensive
anti-trafficking draft legislation, set up an
interministerial committee on TIP that meets monthly, and
conduct various training and public awareness campaigns at
youth centers and schools to educate the Iraqi public about
trafficking. While these developments might not seem notable
in a different setting, the modest achievements of the GOI on
TIP issues are very significant in light of the trying
circumstances under which it operated, and the overwhelming
volume of pressing issues on its agenda during the reporting
period. END COMMENT
FORD

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