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ECONOMIST. 1993 Nov 27 - Dec 3; 51.Promoting condom use alone is no effective against AIDS because many men do not like condoms and women, particularly adolescents, do not have the sexual bargaining power to demand condom use. WHO is calling for pharmaceutical companies to perfect microbicidal vaginal gels or sprays and to have them out on the market within 2 years. AIDS researchers have tended to ignore the potential of vaginal gels to protect against HIV. Vaginal gels have been available for decades. Most serve as contraceptive barriers, while others protect against sexually transmitted diseases (e.g., gonorrhea). Results of trials of the spermicide nonoxynol-9 in Cameroon and Zambia suggest that it protects against HIV transmission, but trials among prostitutes in Kenya suggest the opposite. In the Kenyan trials, nonoxynol-9 caused ulcers in some prostitutes, thereby facilitating HIV transmission. The president of the Society for Women and AIDS in Africa points out that a product that can separate the contraceptive function from the microbicidal function is needed to be acceptable. She adds that people in developing countries want protection against AIDS but not against pregnancy, WHO could further their cause by saying that the Pope also wants protection against AIDS but not against pregnancy. Microbicides are not very profitable for pharmaceutical companies and are less attractive for researchers than genetically engineered drugs. The president of the African women's groups believes that researchers and pharmaceutical companies have not taken microbicides seriously over the last decade because men oppose any woman-controlled method. If a woman used an easily available gel and it failed to protect against HIV/AIDS, the failure would be her death sentence and would expose pharmaceutical companies to litigation. WHO understands why pharmaceutical companies are wary: US lawyers. The companies' apathy is understood when one adds a legal suit to the quagmire suffering of sex and research trials in developing countries.
In: International watercourses: enhancing cooperation and managing conflict. Proceedings of a World Bank seminar, edited by Salman M.A. Salman, Laurence Boisson de Chazournes. Washington, D.C., World Bank, 1998. 103-25. (World Bank Technical Paper No. 414)This technical report chapter discusses the legal dispute about international watercourses (IWs) that was resolved in the International Court of Justice: the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros Case. The September 1997 judgment between Hungary and Slovakia appears in the appendix. The case concerns a dispute over construction of two dams on the Danube River in shared water. A 1977 bilateral treaty authorized construction of two dams and joint operation. During construction, political pressure mounted in Hungary over environmental concerns until 1989, when Hungary suspended work. Czechoslovakia proceeded to build a single dam that would divert 80% of the shared water. In 1992, Hungary ended the 1977 treaty. The Court found that Hungary was not entitled to suspend work or end the 1977 treaty. It ruled that Slovakia was not entitled to operate from a 1992 unilateral solution to divert the water. The Court urged mutual cooperation and agreement and suggested the joint operation of one dam, but not at peak power. The 1977 treaty included protections of water quality and nature. This case indicated that states can invoke "ecological necessity" actions, but there must be proven "real, grave and imminent peril." The decision was based on the assumption of a common legal right, equality of all riparian states as users of the whole IW, and directly, on the law of IWs. It referred to a global convention about sustainable use of the Danube. The Court argued that States must consider new activities, such as sustainable development, even in long-term projects. This case gives prominence to environmental concerns within public international law.
New York, New York, Human Rights Watch, 2008 Apr. 44 p. (1-56432-302-1)Five years into the armed conflict in Sudan's Darfur region, women and girls living in displaced persons camps, towns, and rural areas remain extremely vulnerable to sexual violence. Sexual violence continues to occur throughout the region, both in the context of continuing attacks on civilians, and during periods of relative calm. Those responsible are usually men from the Sudanese security forces, militias, rebel groups, and former rebel groups, who target women and girls predominantly (but not exclusively) from Fur, Zaghawa, Masalit, Berti, Tunjur, and other non-Arab ethnicities. Survivors of sexual violence in Darfur have no meaningful access to redress. They fear the consequences of reporting their cases to the authorities and lack the resources needed to prosecute their attackers. Police are physically present only in principal towns and government outposts, and they lack the basic tools and political will for responding to sexual violence crimes and conducting investigations. Police frequently fail to register complaints or conduct proper investigations. While some police seem genuinely committed to service, many exhibit an antagonistic and dismissive attitude toward women and girls. These difficulties are exacerbated by the reluctance-and limited ability-of police to investigate crimes committed by soldiers or militia, who often gain effective immunity under laws that protect them from civilian prosecution. (excerpt)