TIME faith

Inside Pope Francis’ U.S. Trip Schedule

Vatican Pope Francis'
Massimo Valicchia—NurPhoto/AP Pope Francis during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at Vatican City, on June 24, 2015.

The schedule says a lot about Pope Francis' focus

Pope Francis’ schedule is almost always a political document. Everyone wants a piece of it, especially when it comes to his upcoming September trip to the U.S. The White House and Congress, not to mention outside groups, have been lobbying for months to try to influence his agenda. On Tuesday morning, the Vatican and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released the official schedule for the trip. Predictably, it is packed. Pope Francis will visit Cuba and the U.S. from Sept. 19-28—four days in Cuba, five in the U.S—and give a total of 26 addresses, 18 of them in the U.S.

The world has known the big-ticket items for months—a meeting with President Obama, an address to the U.S. Congress, a talk at the United Nations, and a mass in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families. But the other events hold just as powerful a message. The logistics are often the key to understanding the entire agenda—where Pope Francis is, who he is with, where he is coming from and where he is going next say as much about his message as his words themselves.

This schedule shows the Pope’s diplomatic acumen from the start. Pope Francis comes to Washington only after giving first dibs to Cuba, an island that the U.S. had blackballed economically until he intervened in December. And, Pope Francis will fly directly from there to Joint Base Andrews outside Washington DC, symbolizing the new link he helped to forge between the two nations.

Once he has arrived in the U.S., Pope Francis establishes a pattern—he links political events with pastoral ones. His first full day in Washington, the Pope will meet with Obama at the White House, and then leave to hold midday prayer with the U.S. bishops at St. Matthew’s Cathedral. It is tradition for the pope to gather the bishops when he visits, and leaving the White House for a church shows the value Francis places on the work of the church and its leaders.

The next day, immediately after speaking to the U.S. Congress, he will visit Catholic Charities, the social outreach ministry of the Archdiocese of Washington, which does extensive work to serve the area’s poor, homeless and immigrant communities. The juxtaposition is a not-so-subtle hint about who Pope Francis hopes political leaders will be—politicians who serve the poor, instead of staying isolated in the halls of power.

The pattern continues in New York, where Pope Francis will begin his time with an evening prayer service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral before addressing the U.N. the next morning. From there, he will—again—go directly to an interfaith service at the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center. It is another statement about the importance of solidarity, especially between Christians and Muslims in the face of global extremism. Pope Benedict visited Ground Zero to pray in 2008, but Francis is taking it to another level with an interfaith focus. He will then visit a Catholic elementary school in East Harlem, and celebrate mass in Madison Square Garden.

When Pope Francis goes to Philadelphia, the pattern shifts, but only slightly. The World Meeting of Families, a Catholic gathering of families every three years hosted this time in Philadelphia, was from the start the reason for his trip to the U.S. Here, Francis adds specifically political moments to a primarily pastoral visit. In addition to celebrating mass at the Cathedral Basilica, visiting the Festival of Families, and meeting the bishops at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Pope Francis will visit Philadelphia’s largest prison, the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility. What Pope Francis will do there remains to be seen, but his mere presence will both highlight high incarceration rates in the U.S. and make it hard to ignore the Catholic Church’s opposition to the death penalty.

The whole trip concludes with an outdoor mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, where Pope John Paul II celebrated mass in 1979.

Francis’ schedule is like a liturgy. It is a roadmap to guide the desired focus of, and communal participation in, his message. And the places he has chosen—Catholic Charities in Washington, a school in Harlem, an interfaith service at Ground Zero, a prison in Philadelphia—will likely end up saying as much about what Francis’ focus is as anything else.

TIME Yemen

Yemen Crisis: 21 Million People Now in Urgent Need of Food, Humanitarian Aid

A Saudi-led blockade on maritime traffic has limited commercial goods from entering Yemen, forcing prices of food and fuel to skyrocket

The U.N. envoy to Yemen said Wednesday that the conflict-torn nation was “one step away from famine,” with nearly 80% of its population — 21 million people — in need of humanitarian aid.

Following a briefing of the bloc’s Security Council in New York, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said a cease-fire was a priority and called on all parties involved to broker a truce before the end of the Islamic holiday of Ramadan on July 17, reports Agence France-Presse. Peace talks between Yemen’s political parties, mediated by Ahmed, collapsed last week in the Swiss city of Geneva.

“While we pursue a sustainable long-term cessation of violence, I called on all the relevant parties to agree without delay to a humanitarian truce,” said Ahmed.

Yemen descended further into chaos in March when a Saudi-led coalition began bombing sorties to stop an advance by local Shi‘ite Houthi rebels. They want to restore the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to power, having driven incumbent President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi into exile.

Over the past three months alone, thousands of people have been killed or injured by air strikes and ground fighting, and 1 million more have been displaced, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Due to a coalition blockade of maritime traffic, commercial goods including food and medical supplies are only trickling into the country. Fuel and food prices have therefore skyrocketed, escalating the humanitarian disaster for Yemen’s citizens.

According to a joint survey by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme, 6 million people in the country are slipping toward severe hunger and desperately need emergency food and lifesaving assistance. A further 6.5 million people are facing a food security “crisis.”

Yemen officials in the southern port city of Aden have called on international aid organizations to deliver more medical supplies as more than 4,000 people have contracted the mosquito-borne and sometimes fatal disease dengue fever, reports al-Jazeera.

TIME India

On Your Marks, Get Set, Contort: 5 Things to Know About Modi’s Yoga Day Campaign

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Ashwini Bhatia—AP Exile Tibetan children practice yoga at the Tibetan Children's Village School in Dharmsala, India, June 20, 2015.

The event, designed to break records, has generated controversy

On Sunday morning, the Indian capital New Delhi’s broadest and grandest avenue, Rajpath, will be covered in a sea of yoga mats, with some 35,000 people expected to indulge in mass physical contortions to mark the first International Day of Yoga—a pet initiative of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who pitched the idea to the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) in his maiden speech at the annual diplomatic confab in September. A formal UNGA resolution to establish an international yoga day was passed in December, with more than 170 countries co-sponsoring the move. Modi’s government has since gone all out to promote the first yoga day, calling its diplomatic corps into service to plan events in more than 190 countries, and releasing print and television advertisements featuring Indian celebrities.

But the government’s drive hasn’t been without controversy. As thousands limber up to mark the occasion, here are five things to know about Modi’s campaign to promote the ancient exercise regimen.

Modi has given India its first yoga minister—but he’s not the first national leader to embrace the discipline

As TIME noted in a 1956 cover story, the country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, would start off each day with yoga exercises. And Nehru’s daughter, former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was a devotee of a high-profile and controversial yoga guru called Dhirendra Brahmachari who for a time promoted the discipline with broadcasts on state television (Brahmachari also gave lessons to Nehru, and counted a string of other prominent political leaders of his time as followers). In the late 1950s, backed by an education ministry grant, Brahmachari set up a center in New Delhi to promote yoga that was inaugurated by Nehru, according to a biography of Indira by Katherine Frank.

But Modi, in addition to taking his campaign to promote yoga to the world stage, has gone further and appointed a minister in his government dedicated to yoga and traditional medicine. He’s even linked the discipline to the fight against climate change. “Yoga is an invaluable gift of our ancient tradition,” he told the UNGA in New York in September, adding: “By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change.”

His personal devotion to the discipline—he is said to spend 20 minutes each morning practicing yoga and meditation—is well known, with one aide recently telling the Reuters news agency that it was his way “to streamline his thoughts ahead of a grueling schedule.” Vladimir Putin, however, must have missed the reports of Modi’s devotion to yoga. When informed on the sidelines of an economic meeting in St. Petersburg that Modi had set up a ministry covering the ancient regimen, the Russian leader was reportedly incredulous at the news, asking: “Does Modi do yoga?”

Modi’s officials have been working to make the first yoga day an international spectacle, with events planned from New York to the world’s highest battlefield in the Himalayas

The event in New Delhi on Sunday morning is part of a massive global drive by the Modi government to promote the first yoga day. India’s foreign ministry is helping organize events in 192 countries, including the U.S., where India’s foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, is due to attend an event at the U.N. headquarters in New York to mark the occasion. She will also call in at a mass yoga event in Times Square that is expected to be attended by 30,000 people, according to India’s national broadcaster.

Closer to home, India’s armed forces are also doing their bit to promote yoga, with plans for yoga sessions aboard the country’s warships, and even at the Indian military camp at the Siachen glacier in the Himalayan region. Often referred to as the world’s highest battlefield, both India and its longtime foe Pakistan have soldiers stationed there.

“Yoga is the soft power of India,” Swaraj told reporters at a press conference earlier this month. She wouldn’t be drawn out, however, on how much the international push would cost. “So far as the foreign countries are concerned, all our Missions have a publicity budget. Because this is a soft power India campaign, we are taking it forward,” she said. “So they will do it with their budget.”

The Indian government has its sights set on not one but two world records

With some 35,000 people expected to participate in the New Delhi event, the Modi government is attempting to set two world records, including the largest yoga lesson (the current record was set in India in 2005, when nearly 30,000 students from more than 360 schools participated in a yoga session in the central Indian city of Gwalior). It also wants to set a record for the number of nationalities involved in a single yoga lesson, a category it hopes to pioneer. To assess if the event passes muster, two adjudicators from Guinness World Records will be present at the New Delhi gathering, according to the Indian Express newspaper, which also reported that the government had appointed Ernst & Young as the “official auditor” for the event, charging the international accountancy firm with preparing a report for the Guinness officials.

But not everyone is pleased with the official push for yoga

Yoga is big business internationally, including in the U.S., where a recent survey showed that nearly 10% of adults and around 3% of children practiced the discipline in 2012. One 2012 study put the value of the market for yoga classes and related products in the U.S. at over $10 billion a year. For many, it is simply a way to get fit. But in India, some among the country’s minority groups have voiced concerns that the government’s enthusiasm for yoga was part of a drive to promote rituals linked to Hinduism—a charge rejected by the government and Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP).

A Hindu priest and BJP lawmaker called Yogi Adityanath added to the controversy earlier in June when he reportedly said that those who oppose a set of yoga postures known as Surya Namaskar—or salutations to the Sun God—should leave the country or drown themselves in the ocean. (Swaraj distanced herself from Adityanath’s remarks at her press conference earlier this month and said the Surya Namaskar was not part of a so-called “common yoga protocol” developed by the government ahead of the yoga day events.)

Modi won’t bring his yoga mat to Sunday’s gathering

Initial reports had suggested that Modi would himself perform yoga at the New Delhi event. But his foreign minister Swaraj told reporters that while the Prime Minister will address the gathering, he won’t participate in the yoga demonstrations himself.

His senior officials, however, have been told to brush up on their yoga postures. To achieve its world record, the government has issued a circular ahead of the event putting senior bureaucrats on notice to make sure they are flexible enough on the day, for “if officials turn up without practice and their performance is not up to the mark, we run the risk of the record claim in the Guinness Book of World Records being affected.”

TIME United Nations

There Have Never Been More Displaced People Across the World Than Now

If the number of displaced persons formed a nation, it would be the 24th largest country in the world

The total number of people forcibly displaced by war, conflict and persecution rose to a record 59.5 million at the end of 2014, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) has said.

The agency’s annual Global Trends Report: World at War, released Thursday, found forced displacement worldwide has reached unprecedented levels, with a record annual rise of 8.3 million more displaced people since 2013. Some 38.2 million of the total were internally displaced in their own countries.

If the number of displaced persons formed a nation, the report said, it would be the 24th largest country in the world.

Speaking in Turkey on Thursday, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres confirmed worldwide displacement was at the highest ever recorded.

“When you see the news in any global network, we clearly get the impression that the world is at war,” he said. “Indeed many areas of the world are today in a completely chaotic situation and the result is this staggering escalation of displacement, the staggering escalation of suffering, because each displaced person is a tragic story,” he said.

Syria overtook Afghanistan to become the biggest source of refugees last year, with 1.77 million Syrians having fled the nation’s ongoing civil war.

Just over half of all refugees under UNHCR’s responsibility worldwide came from just three countries: Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia. The report also pointed to new and continuing conflicts in South Sudan, Ukraine and Iraq, among others, which have caused suffering and widespread displacement.

Guterres warned that humanitarian organizations were “no longer able to clean up the mess.”

“U.N. agencies, NGOs, the Red Cross — we no longer have the capacities and the resources to respond to such a dramatic increase in humanitarian needs,” he said.

Turkey overtook Pakistan to become the nation hosting the most refugees in the world with 1.59 million people currently displaced within its borders. Guterres praised Turkey’s willingness to keep its frontiers open and called on richer countries to do more.

“That has a special meaning in a world where so many borders are closed or restricted,” he said. “And where new walls are being built or announced.”

TIME United Nations

U.N.: Global Refugee Numbers Reach Alarming Levels

refugees
Bulent Kilic—AFP/Getty Images A Syrian child fleeing the war is lifted over border fences to enter Turkish territory illegally, near the Turkish border crossing at Akcakale in Sanliurfa province on June 14, 2015. T

"There is a multiplication of new crises"

(BERLIN) — Syria overtook Afghanistan to become the world’s biggest source of refugees last year, while the number of people forced from their homes by conflicts worldwide rose to a record 59.5 million, the United Nations’ refugee agency said Thursday.

Pointing to crises in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Burundi and elsewhere, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said he doesn’t expect any improvement in 2015.

“There is a multiplication of new crises,” he said. “The Iraq-Syria crisis gained the dimension of a mega one … and at the same time the old crises have no solutions.”

The report comes at a time when Europe is grappling with how to deal with a flood of new migrants crossing the Mediterranean to escape the fighting in Syria, Libya and elsewhere.

UNHCR estimated that a total of 59.5 million people worldwide had been displaced by conflict by the end of last year — including 38.2 million displaced within their own countries. That was up from 51.2 million in 2013 — the previous highest since the U.N. began collecting numbers in the early 1950s. Syria alone accounted for 11.6 million of those people, the biggest single figure.

The agency counted nearly 3.9 million Syrian refugees in 107 countries last year, the fourth year of the country’s civil war. That made it the leading source of refugees — pushing Afghanistan, which had held that status for more than 30 years, down to second place with 2.6 million refugees.

Syria’s northern neighbor, Turkey, became the world’s biggest refugee host with 1.59 million refugees. Pakistan, which had held that position for more than a decade, was second with 1.51 million.

Over the course of last year, only 126,800 refugees returned to their home countries — the lowest number since 1983. The countries to which most people returned were Congo, Mali and Afghanistan.

Guterres said he was alarmed by “a staggering acceleration” in the number of people being forced from their homes over recent years.

TIME India

Charles Correa, Iconic Indian Architect, Dies At Age 84

TO GO WITH AFP STORY "Lifestyle-India-ar
MANAN VATSYAYANA—AFP/Getty Images This picture taken on March 7, 2012, shows Indian architect Charles Correa gesturing during an interview with AFP in New Delhi.

Correa was known for the "open-to-sky" design concept reflected in several of his famous projects

Charles Correa, widely considered to be India’s greatest contemporary architect, died on Tuesday night at age 84.

The renowned architect and urban planner died in Mumbai following a brief illness, the BBC reported.

Correa, who designed the Gandhi memorial in the Western state of Gujarat when he was just 28, was known for his “open-to-sky” concept represented in the majority of his designs.

His influence was not restricted to his native country but spread across the globe, with international projects like India’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, the Brain Science Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (from where he graduated in 1955) and most recently, the Ismaili Centre in Toronto, Canada.

He also designed several government buildings, academies, resorts and low-income housing units across India, and was the chief architect of the suburb of Navi Mumbai, built across the harbor from Mumbai proper.

Correa was a staunch critic of the way modern cities were designed, once saying: “Market forces do not make cities, they destroy them.”

TIME United Nations

U.N. Quietly Offers DNA Testing for ‘Peacekeeper Babies’

United Nations Flag
Getty Images

No one knows how many children have been fathered by U.N. peacekeepers over the decades

(UNITED NATIONS)—The U.N. peacekeepers arrive; months later, some leave infants behind. Now the United Nations has quietly started to offer DNA testing to help prove paternity claims and ensure support for the so-called “peacekeeper babies.”

It’s a delicate step, as countries that contribute U.N. troops might not welcome a practice that could prove not only fatherhood but wrongdoing. Of the dozen paternity claims received last year, four were associated with alleged sexual abuse of a minor.

The new effort comes a decade after a groundbreaking report on sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers suggested that the U.N. secretary-general be authorized to “require DNA and other tests to establish paternity” so peacekeepers would be pressured to support the children they “father and abandon.”

Many of the children are in a desperate financial situation, said the report by Zeid Raad al-Hussein, now the U.N.’s human rights chief and a former peacekeeper himself.

No one knows how many children have been fathered by U.N. peacekeepers over the decades in some of the world’s most troubled places. About 125,000 peacekeepers are deployed in 16 locations, almost all in Africa or the Middle East. Sexual abuse and exploitation remains a problem, with little support available for victims.

While the U.N. has worked with member states before on paternity claims, it only started offering a DNA collection protocol, and testing kits, last year.

But it doesn’t go as far as the action urged by a U.N.-commissioned report that was leaked publicly this spring. A “DNA data bank for all troops would be the most foolproof method” for tackling paternity claims, it said.

Instead, the U.N., which has no standing army, is allowing troop-contributing countries to decide how much of an effort to make to pursue paternity claims.

It began with a cable that the peacekeeping office sent to its missions in January 2014. A U.N. report obtained this month by The Associated Press described the cable as offering “guidance on assistance in instances of paternity claims involving current or former members of peacekeeping missions in terms of DNA testing.”

On Friday, U.N. officials explained how it works: A member state is asked if they are able to do DNA testing or whether the U.N. should do it. The mother, child and possible father are swabbed. Results are compared.

The testing has not been made mandatory. Since the U.N. started pressing states to follow up on pending paternity issues, the response rate is just 20 percent.

Cooperation in a possible criminal case, such as rape, could be more challenging. The U.N. has no authority to conduct criminal investigations and can’t force a country to do DNA testing.

Almost half of the paternity claims reported since January 2010 — 14 out of 29 — were made by minors who said they’ had been sexually abused. The U.N., nervous about angering member states amid a persistent need for peacekeepers, does not even list the countries whose troops are accused. Officials say that could change as soon as next year.

Responses to the DNA testing are mixed. Ban Ki-moon’s latest annual report on combating sexual abuse and exploitation in the U.N. system, released in February, said “one member state in particular has been very proactive.”

The country was not identified. But a report on Public Radio International’s “The World” in August said the U.N. mission in Haiti had brought seven local women with their children to the capital, Port-au-Prince, for DNA tests. The report said peacekeepers from Uruguay had been asked to submit DNA samples. Uruguay’s mission to the U.N. did not reply to an AP request for comment.

Sexual relationships between peacekeepers and locals are never acceptable, Uruguayan Col. Girardo Frigossi was quoted as saying.

The U.N. appears to agree. Asked Friday whom peacekeepers, who are in the field for up to a year at a time, can have sex with, one official said, “No one.” Except, the official then clarified, with each other. Or with those who don’t create an imbalance of power.

“I don’t see any downsides” for DNA testing, said Alison Giffen, co-director of the Future of Peace Operations program for the Washington-based Stimson Center think tank. The evidence could help hold people to account but also disprove any false claims, she said.

“When we raise the darker side of peacekeeping, that can be embarrassing for troop-contributing countries,” but the U.N. zero tolerance policy is clear, she said. “They know what they’re signing up for.”

Peacekeeping missions also include U.N. staffers who are not troops or police. In his report a decade ago, Zeid proposed a paternity claim system that gave those possible fathers a narrow choice. “The staff member would have to either acknowledge the claim or to submit to a DNA test to prove that the allegation was ill-founded,” he wrote. Money for child support could be taken from the U.N. staffer’s salary.

Ban has also suggested creating a U.N. fund to help support children left behind, especially in cases where countries fail to act on paternity claims.

It is not clear if the U.N. is following those suggestions. Even when a DNA match is made, legal proceedings are needed to officially recognize the relationship. It is not known whether any peacekeepers are regularly paying child support.

Ban’s report in February did report signs of progress: “positive matches that have established paternity in four instances and ruled it out in two; results remain pending in seven more instances.”

“Yet hurdles remain,” he continued, “as some of the alleged fathers refuse to be tested.”

TIME South Africa

Angelina Jolie Pitt Says Violence Against Women ‘Is Still Treated as a Lesser Crime’

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Gordon Harlons—AFP/Getty Images African Union Commssion Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Angelina Jolie attend a panel discussion on Conflict related Gender Violence during an African Union Summit session in Johannesburg on June 12, 2015.

"Women and girls are bearing the brunt of extremists"

Angelina Jolie Pitt addressed a room of delegates at the African Union summit Thursday to encourage more global support to end violence against women around the world.

The award-winning actress, 40, who is the special envoy to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, sat on a panel of foreign leaders to deliver a speech at the biannual event, held in Johannesburg and Pretoria, South Africa, this year.

“There is a global epidemic of violence against women – both within conflict zones and within societies at peace – and it is still treated as a lesser crime and lower priority,” the actress-director told the crowded ballroom.

“The near-total impunity that exists worldwide for crimes against women, in conflict zones in particular, means that we are seeing more and more armed groups turn it into their weapon of choice. Women and girls are bearing the brunt of extremists that revel in treating them barbarically. This is inextricably linked to our overall failure to prevent and end conflicts worldwide, which is causing human suffering on an unprecedented level.”

The Unbroken director, wearing a dark gray Michael Kors dress and beige heels, went on to pay tribute to African victims for their “extraordinary resilience, dignity and strength in the face of trials that would break any of us.”

“They are some of the most formidable and impressive people I have ever met and they deserve better than to be left alone to suffer,” Jolie Pitt continued.

She wrapped up her speech by stating that the solution needs to be tailored to, and pioneered by, women themselves.

“We need policies for long-term security that are designed by women, focused on women, executed by women – not at the expense of men, or instead of men, but alongside and with men,” she said. “There is no greater pillar of stability than a strong, free and educated woman, and there is no more inspiring role model than a man who respects and cherishes women and champions their leadership.”

Jolie Pitt joined former British foreign minister William Hague, Senegalese activist Bineta Diop and Zainab Bangura, who is the U.N.’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, on the panel at the event.

The group was called together by African Union chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the first female head of the A.U. Dlamini-Zuma made women’s empowerment the focus of this year’s summit.

South Africa began buzzing about the star’s arrival when Twitter users spotted the actress, who was accompanied by her 11-year-old son Pax, at Tambo International Airport on Thursday shortly after they landed.

Activists also took to social media to share photos from the meeting.

The actress has made her humanitarian work a major priority in recent years. She was appointed to her current position as special envoy in 2012, previously acting as one of the agency’s Goodwill Ambassadors.

This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME United Nations

U.N.: Sex Exploitation by Peacekeepers Strongly Underreported

The report, expected to be released this month, says major challenges remain a decade after a groundbreaking U.N. report first tackled the issue

(UNITED NATIONS) — Members of a U.N. peacekeeping mission engaged in “transactional sex” with more than 225 Haitian women who said they needed to do so to obtain things like food and medication, a sign that sexual exploitation remains significantly underreported in such missions, according to a new report obtained by The Associated Press.

The draft by the Office of Internal Oversight Services looks at the way U.N. peacekeeping, which has about 125,000 people in some of the world’s most troubled areas, deals with the persistent problem of sexual abuse and exploitation.

The report, expected to be released this month, says major challenges remain a decade after a groundbreaking U.N. report first tackled the issue.

Among its findings: About a third of alleged sexual abuse involves minors under 18. Assistance to victims is “severely deficient.” The average investigation by OIOS, which says it prioritizes cases involving minors or rape, takes more than a year.

And widespread confusion remains on the ground about consensual sex and exploitation. To help demonstrate that, investigators headed to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

A year ago, the report says, investigators interviewed 231 people in Haiti who said they’d had transactional sexual relationships with U.N. peacekeepers. “For rural women, hunger, lack of shelter, baby care items, medication and household items were frequently cited as the ‘triggering need,'” the report says. Urban and suburban women received “church shoes,’ cell phones, laptops and perfume, as well as money.

“In cases of non-payment, some women withheld the badges of peacekeepers and threatened to reveal their infidelity via social media,” the report says. “Only seven interviewees knew about the United Nations policy prohibiting sexual exploitation and abuse.” None knew about the mission’s hotline to report it.

Each of those instances of transactional sex, the report says, would be considered prohibited conduct, “thus demonstrating significant underreporting.” It was not clear how many peacekeepers were involved.

For all of last year, the total number of allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation against members of all U.N. peacekeeping missions was 51, down from 66 the year before, according to the secretary-general’s latest annual report on the issue.

The draft report doesn’t say over what time frame the “transactional sex” in Haiti occurred. The peacekeeping mission there was first authorized in 2004 and, as of the end of March, had more than 7,000 uniformed troops. It is one of four peacekeeping missions that have accounted for the most allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation in recent years, along with those in Congo, Liberia and South Sudan.

One of the U.N. staffers who produced the report would not comment Tuesday, saying it was better to wait until it was released publicly. A spokesman for the peacekeeping office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The U.N. doesn’t have a standing army and relies on troops contributed by member states. The states are responsible for investigating alleged misconduct by their troops, though the U.N. can step in if there’s no action.

In their response to the report’s findings, which is included in the draft, U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous and field support chief Atul Khare point out that while the number of peacekeepers has increased dramatically over the past decade, the number of allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation have gone down.

The U.N. prohibits “exchange of money, employment, goods or services for sex,” and it strongly discourages sexual relationships between U.N. staff and people who receive their assistance, saying they are “based on inherently unequal power dynamics” and undermine the world body’s credibility.

But that has led to some confusion on the ground, the new report says, with some members of peacekeeping missions seeing that guidance as a ban on all sexual relationships with local people. The report says the guidelines need to be clarified.

“Staff with long mission experience states that was a ‘general view that people should have romantic rights’ and raised the issue of sexuality as a human right,” the report says.

TIME Burma

Malala Says Burma’s Rohingya Muslims ‘Deserve Citizenship’

"They deserve to be treated like we all deserve to be treated—with dignity and respect"

Activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai is standing with the Rohingya people of Burma and calling on world leaders to demand an end to their persecution.

“I call on the leaders of Myanmar and the world to take immediate action to halt the inhuman persecution of Burma’s Muslim minority Rohingya people,” Yousafzai said in a statement.

“The Rohingyas deserve citizenship in the country where they were born and have lived for generations,” she added.“They deserve equal rights and opportunities. They deserve to be treated like we all deserve to be treated—with dignity and respect. Today and every day, I stand with the Rohingyas, and I encourage people everywhere to do so,” she said.

The Rohingyas are fleeing Burma en masse and have faced years of persecution considered by many to be a form of ethnic cleansing. The United Nations considers the Rohingyas one of the world’s most persecuted minorities.

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