Castration, gang-rape, forced nudity: How Russia’s soldiers are using sexual violence to terrorise Ukraine

Since Russia’s soldiers first stormed Ukraine, women have been gang-raped, men castrated, children sexually abused, and civilians forced to parade naked in the streets, according to the United Nations. The Kremlin stands accused of terrorising the Ukrainian population with sexual violence in a systematic and unsparing manner. It is thought that the full-extent of this barbarism will not come to light until years after the war.

The fight for survival inside the villages with no men

In three months, north-eastern Kenya’s villages have witnessed a seismic shift: the men have all but left. “In August the men moved, taking their little [remaining] livestock,” says Yusuf Abdi, a local programme coordinator for Action Aid. “It is only the women now. They are struggling to feed their families and children.” North-eastern Kenya, like many of its neighbours in the Horn of Africa, is facing its worst drought in forty years. For the last four seasons the annual rains have failed.

Sex trafficking cases climb in New York – but NYPD is accused of turning a blind eye

Walking through the streets of Queens, New York, with her two best friends at the age of 12, Melanie Thompson was being assessed. Two boys from her neighbourhood – a few years older but familiar faces from middle school – made a calculation and invited the girls indoors. “It was really innocent at first, we were just joking around. Then they gave us alcohol and I ended up blacking out,” Melanie recalled. “When I woke up, my two girlfriends were gone. I was being raped by one of the boys.” Melanie tried to find her clothes and escape from the basement. But she was trapped; an older man entered. “He told me I wasn’t going anywhere,” she told The Telegraph, waiving her right to anonymity. “My trafficking had started.” Human trafficking – including sex and child trafficking – has increased worldwide in recent years. In the United States, it is now the fastest growing organised criminal activity.

There’s a new surveillance state – and women are the target

Surveillance data and technology are being exploited to stoke fear and prevent abortions in countries including the United States, China, Hungary and Poland. Period tracking apps, car licence plate data and pregnancy registers are the latest tools activists warn are being harnessed to stop women using legal or geographic loopholes for terminations. All four countries have reversed abortion rights over the past two years. “

Why New York’s polio outbreak has put global experts on high alert

Health officials in New York are “very, very concerned” about a recent outbreak of polio, the latest in a string of infectious diseases to rattle the state. Polio was eradicated in the United States in 1979 thanks to high vaccination rates. But now the disease has been detected in wastewater samples in multiple counties, one man has been irreversibly paralysed, and a state of emergency has been declared.

China cracks down on abortions amid plunging birth rate

China is clamping down on abortions which are not “medically necessary” in a bid to tackle its plunging birth rate, authorities have announced. The National Health Authority has published new guidelines to prevent unwanted pregnancies and “reduce abortions that are not medically necessary”, amid mounting concerns about an untenable ageing population. New births in China, home to 1.4 billion, are set to fall to record lows this year, dropping below 10 million for the first time.

‘Life is like Russian roulette’: The Ukrainian refugees going back to live in a warzone

As Russian bombs crashed down on a small village outside Kyiv on March 1, Svitlana and her family sheltered in a cellar normally used to store vegetables and jam. “The neighbours didn’t reach the shelter in time. The mother and son died, the fragment of shell cut off his head,” the 24-year-old said. “Our home was destroyed by two missiles, leaving just the staircase. My mother calls the road ‘The street of horrors’. Eight houses in a row were burned down.”

‘We can sell your body parts’: the poverty lurking behind a tourist paradise

In Kanyama, an unplanned settlement in Zambia’s capital, two children squeal as they challenge one another to thread a plastic bag through the tail of a dead rat. A toddler watches with a glassy expression, chewing on a jagged, empty tin. It is mid-morning, and the children – along with dozens of their peers – should be at school. Education is free in the southern African country, but more than one million do not make it into a classroom.

‘Inhumane’ detention centres are making children ‘give up on life’

Refugees are increasingly being forced into “inhumane” immigration detention centres in a breach of international law, the World Health Organisation has warned. The number of migrants in such sites – often based in prisons, shipping containers and warehouses – has more than doubled in the past decade in some European countries. The WHO said that conditions varied substantially country by country, but in many of the centres refugees and asylum seekers are at risk of communicable diseases, violenc

Kidnappings double as Haiti descends into lawless hell

Three people a day are being kidnapped in Haiti – more than double the rate in 2021 – as hundreds of armed gangs vie for control of the Caribbean country. For the first half of 2022, 551 cases of kidnapping were recorded, compared to 382 over the same period in 2021, according to data from the Centre for Analysis and Research in Human Rights in Haiti, shared exclusively with the Telegraph. The figures also show that the second quarter of this year saw 45 per cent more kidnappings than the first,

UK aid agencies degraded in flagship transparency rankings

UK aid agencies have been degraded in a flagship global transparency index, in a “blow” for the taxpaying public. Not a single British aid-spending department has made it into the top category for the first time since the index was launched in 2012. The index is the only independent measure of aid transparency among the world’s major donors – and is considered essential for tracking financial flows and assessing impact. Published on Wednesday, it reveals the Foreign, Commonwealth & Developmen

‘Alarming’ rise in child marriage across drought-hit Horn of Africa

Girls as young as 12 are being forced into marriage at “alarming rates” in the Horn of Africa, Unicef has warned, as the worst drought in 40 years is pushing families to make desperate choices to survive. Across the region, at least 18 million people are facing food shortages, as the third drought to hit in 11 years has been exacerbated by spiralling prices triggered by the war in Ukraine. Meanwhile, 1.8 million children are severely malnourished. The crisis and resulting upheaval shows few sign

‘Human despair’ as more than 100m forced to flee their homes amid war and violence

There are now more than 100 million refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people in the world – a 20 per cent increase on the previous year – according to figures released by the United Nations. In 2021, 89.3 million had fled their homes due to persecution, conflict and violence, taking the global toll to more than 100 million when including displacement caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The UN refugee agency said the data continue “a worrying decade-long rising trend”. At th

Waterborne parasites are laying eggs in women’s bodies – with deadly consequences

Cloaked in white robes, chanting worshippers sink into Zambia’s Kafue river with arms stretched to the sky as their baptism unfolds. But underneath the water’s rippling surface lurk parasitic worms, hunting for their next victim. Trematode worms are endemic across this region. After being released by freshwater snails they search for a human host, and burrow into the skin. Once in the bloodstream, the parasites travel through the host’s organs, with potentially fatal consequences.

Millions face starvation in South Sudan as aid funds dry up

Approximately 1.7 million people face starvation in South Sudan after the United Nations World Food Programme has been forced to suspend part of its food assistance programme. It comes amid critical funding shortages – the organisation has raised only 44 per cent of the $1.1 billion it needs. South Sudan facing its greatest hunger since independence in 2011. Over 60 per cent of the population are grappling with severe food insecurity, fuelled by conflict, severe flooding, drought, and soaring

Britain is one shock away from a food crisis, experts warn

The UK is one global shock away from a food crisis, experts have warned, as the country is overly reliant on the rest of the world for staple goods. Britain’s dependence on imports had made it increasingly vulnerable to volatile food and energy prices, they said, criticising the Government for not taking its food security “seriously”. “When it comes to food we are massively dependent on other countries,” Prof Timothy Lang, emeritus professor of food policy at the University of London.

‘The peace talks have failed’: Resurgent violence in DRC displaces 72,000 in one week

Violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has forced more than 72,000 people to flee their homes over the past week, according to the United Nations. Since May 19, intense fighting has shaken the Rutshuru and Nyiragongo territories as militias claiming to be part of the M23 armed group clash with government forces in a continuing struggle north of Goma, the provincial capital. Displaced families have walked more than 20 kilometres through forests and mountainous territory to escape.

‘The doctors were cruel’: Chilean government apologises for forced sterilisation of HIV woman

The Chilean government has publicly apologised to a HIV-positive woman who was illegally sterilised 20 years ago by “cruel” and “unempathetic” doctors. In a landmark announcement on Thursday, the Chilean state said sorry for an unauthorised operation for the first time. The practice was once common – a 2004 Chilean study found that 50 per cent of surgical sterilisations on HIV-positive women had been performed without knowledge of the patient or after pressure from health care workers.
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