Pakistan’s women’s ministry announced a new program this week to educate and train female leaders and representatives of local government across the country. The Women’s Political School project, a joint effort between Pakistan’s government and the United Nations Development Program, will target about 40,000 women, according to a U.N. press statement.

The project “will help empower Pakistan’s female politicians to use their public offices to raise women’s issues directly into the policy agenda,” said Nilofar Bakhtiyar, an advisor to the prime minister of women’s development, in an interview with Reuters.

Bakhtiyar added that the program will usher in many changes within local political leadership, which should bolster female candidates in 2005 local elections.


Rape and sexual violence against Colombian women perpetrated by guerillas, paramilitaries and government forces continue to be widespread and underreported, according to a new report by Amnesty International.

The report, “Colombia: Scarred bodies, hidden crimes, sexual violence against women in the armed conflict,” was part of the second phase of the organization’s Stop Violence Against Women campaign, which focuses on human rights violations committed against women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations.

“By sowing terror and exploiting and manipulating women for military gain, bodies have been turned into a battleground,” the report said. The abuses remain hidden “behind a wall of silence,” it alleged, and few perpetrators are ever brought to justice for these and many other human rights violations.

— Robin Hindery.

Amnesty International USA–
Colombia: Scarred bodies, hidden crimes, sexual violence against women in the armed conflict:

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