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Instagram bans ‘conversion therapy’ content as opposition grows

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(Last Updated On: July 11, 2020)

Instagram said on Friday it would block content that promotes so-called conversion therapy, which aims to alter a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, as pressure to ban the practice grows.

The social media giant announced earlier this year it would no longer allow adverts for conversion therapy services, which can range from counseling and ‘praying away the gay’ to electric shocks and sexual violence.

“We don’t allow attacks against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” Tara Hopkins, Instagram’s public policy director for Europe, Middle East, and Africa said in an emailed statement.

“(We) are updating our policies to ban the promotion of conversion therapy services.”

A spokesman for Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, said it would take time to update all policies and content flagged by users may not be removed immediately.

The United Nations independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity called last month for a global ban on conversion therapy, describing it as “cruel, inhumane and degrading”.

A growing number of countries – including the United States, Canada, Chile, and Mexico – are reviewing their laws. Brazil, Ecuador, and Malta have nationwide bans on conversion therapy, while Germany outlawed the treatment for minors in May.

Instagram’s move is “a step in the right direction, but we’d have to wait and see exactly what kind of actions they take,” Harry Hitchens, co-founder of the campaign group Ban Conversion Therapy, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Ban Conversion Therapy sent an open letter yesterday to Britain’s Equalities Minister Liz Truss, urging her “to introduce a truly effective ban on conversion therapy for all lesbian, gay, bi, trans and gender diverse people in the UK”.

Among those who signed the letter were musicians Elton John and Dua Lipa and writer and actor Stephen Fry.

Truss pledged in May to ban conversion therapy for sexual orientation.

In a global survey of 1,641 survivors of conversion therapy published by the United Nations in May, 46% identified the perpetrators as being medical and mental health providers, while 19% were religious authorities and traditional healers.

Bisi Alimi, a Nigerian LGBT+ activist who underwent conversion therapy aged 16, welcomed the ban but said it had been “a long time coming”.

“What is missing for me in all of this conversation is the face of it, the horror of it. And I don’t care how terrible it is, people need to see it and see real human beings sharing their story in public,” he said.

 

Source: Reuters 

 

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Three new Herat factories create 500 jobs, mostly for women

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(Last Updated On: May 18, 2021)

Three new factories in Herat province have been officially launched with separate production lines now in operation, local officials confirmed.

The factories, and food and dairy; another food; and a cheese factory, worth a total $10 million, will provide 500 new jobs – mostly for women.

Funded by the private sector in the industrial zone of Herat city, the inauguration of the factories was attended by guests including the minister of industry and the governor of Herat.

“With the start of the new production lines, indirectly, thousands of jobs have been created,” said Hamidullah Khadem, head of the Chamber of Industry.

According to local officials, more than 40,000 people are employed by almost 300 factories in Herat’s industrial zone.

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Government to build four dams in Zabul

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(Last Updated On: May 14, 2021)

The Afghan government said Friday that four dams would be constructed in Zabul province in order to help manage waters in the country, local officials said.

According to the officials, the dams – Mizan, Markok, Qaria Aja, and Allaudin – would be constructed at a cost of 132 million AFN.

The officials stated that the dams will be used for hydroelectric and irrigation purposes once the projects are implemented.

Ahmad Gul Rasouli, Governor of Zabul, stated that the dams could also produce between 61 to 77 MW of electricity.

The development comes as the government last month promised to begun constructions of 44 across the country this month.

According to the National Water Affairs Regulation Authority (WARA), the following dams, at an estimated cost of $600 million, would be contracted in 21 provinces.

Aghan Jan in Uruzgan; Mizan, Markok, Qaria Aja, and Allaudin in Zabul; Zardalo, Mullah Cheragh, and Chard in Ghazni; Gromby, Gorbat and Jalrez in Maidan Wardak; Gomal, Gomal Dowom, Zama, and Rustai Mirza in Paktika; Domand in Khost; Kharwar in Logar; Sori Khola in Paktia; Sultan Ibrahim and Qale Sokhta in Sar-e-Pul; Almar and Khisht Pol in Faryab; Rustai Aab in Samangan; Kantiwa and Kala Gosh in Nuristan; Aab Lory in Kandahar; Shoray, and Buzbai in Badghis; Wursaj Socha Maagh in Takhar; Dahane Mohammad Gicha in Bamiyan; Dare Bamsir in Daikundi; Shina, Zardag Bam, and Khair Maidanak in Ghor; Noor Gul and Qata Qala in Kunar; Pang Ziyan, Dare Shrasta, and Surkh in Nangarhar; Buzban in Ghor; Talkhak in Parwan; and Watan Gat in Laghman.

WARA stated that the dams, which will be used for hydroelectric and irrigation purposes, could store around 1,200 million cubic meters of water once the projects are implemented.

Once construction is complete, these dams will also irrigate an estimated 320,000 hectares of land, WARA said.

The Afghan officials said that the projects would also provide employment for thousands of people.

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ADB committed to assisting Afghanistan post troop withdrawal

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(Last Updated On: May 13, 2021)

The Asian Development Bank says it will continue its economic programs in Afghanistan after US and NATO troops have withdrawn.

Officials at the bank said that although the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan will create an economic vacuum, the bank is working to continue its development plans for Afghanistan.

Officials added that they are continuing their projects in the sectors of electricity, transport and agriculture.

“We have a large number of infrastructure projects, and the security of these projects is provided by the Afghan Public Protection Forces, we will continue to work,” said ADB’s Country Director for Afghanistan Narendra Singru.

On the other hand, the Afghan Chamber of Commerce says that there are economic-related concerns about the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, and some problems will remain in this area.

However, economists say continuing ADB projects in Afghanistan could address some of the economic challenges posed by the withdrawal of foreign troops.

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