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Human Rights Crises Most of the World Hasn’t Heard of, But We Certainly Need to Talk About

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St. John's chapter.

As human beings, we are entitled to basic and fundamental rights. It is our duty to advocate for those whose rights are being threatened. While the news and media have focused their attention on a few of these crises, there are still many other violations that absolutely need to be part of the conversation. Here are three humanitarian crises that aren’t widely discussed, but certainly deserve everyone’s attention.

The West African country of Burkina Faso has been experiencing a violent human rights crisis that has only intensified in the past year. Starting in 2016, Burkina Faso became involved in conflict with Ansaroul Islam, a jihadist extremist group associated with Al-Qaeda – and thousands of civilians have been killed since. Most recently, an attack on a village called Zaongo on November 6 has left one hundred civilians dead, including children. The nation is currently under a military government which was established after its second coup d’etat in 2022. The military is also being accused of conducting attacks on its own citizens. According to Amnesty International, “One in twelve individuals across the country has been forced to leave their homes.” In addition to outright murder, the country is also facing the kidnapping of its women and girls, the destruction of resources and infrastructure and limits on education.

As of 2023, The World Population Review cites El Salvador as having the highest rate of femicide in the world. Many women have been coerced into sexual relationships with gang members across the country and are punished severely when they can’t pay extortion to keep their identities hidden. They are sexually assaulted, tortured and oftentimes killed. Femicide is a common form of extreme domestic violence, with a 2017 survey reporting that 67% of El Salvadoran women have experienced some form of violence against them. Additionally, these crimes are often not as widely reported due to the country’s high crime rates in other sectors. An El Salvadoran woman named Almudena Toral told TIME Magazine, “El Salvador is a country with so much gang violence, so much brutality, so many murders, that nobody pays attention to violence against women.”

This past April, a civil war broke out between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) which has led to an alarming genocide within the Northeast African country. The RSF has been conducting military raids on various villages in order to wipe out the ethnic Masalit region of West Darfur. Armed militant groups storm towns where there are known to be Masalit leaders and commit mass murders and sexual assaults on the residents. “They went house to house to search for men and killed each one they found. There were so many corpses in the streets,” said one refugee, whose name was censored to avoid his persecution. Refugees are currently attempting to seek asylum in Chad where reporters have been sharing their stories on the refugees’ behalf. However, their cries for help have mostly fallen on deaf ears, with the rest of the world seemingly too busy to care.

As an American college student, I am fortunate enough to have experienced a relatively normal upbringing and lifestyle, but the same cannot be said for thousands of other people in places of conflict. That being said, it is our obligation as human beings to use our voices to incite change for those who need it most. As a part of the human race, we must all treat each other with empathy and kindness, especially those whom we cannot individually relate to. When speaking up for others who endure human rights injustices we can come together to make the world a better place.


After six months of Civil War, what’s the State of play in Sudan? United States Institute of Peace. (2023, October 20). https://www.usip.org/publications/2023/10/after-six-months-civil-war-whats-state-play-sudan

Armed groups in Burkina Faso committing war crimes in besieged localities. Amnesty International. (2023, November 14). https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2023/11/202715/

Burkina Faso: Army linked to massacre of 156 civilians. Human Rights Watch. (2023a, May 4). https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/05/04/burkina-faso-army-linked-massacre-156-civilians

Cable News Network. (2023, November 17). Video: Refugee describes alleged ethnic cleansing in El Geneina. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/videos/world/2023/11/16/nima-elbagir-pkg-sudan-refugees-lead-vpx.cnn

El Salvador’s “State of exception” makes women collateral damage. (n.d.). https://carnegieendowment.org/2023/05/04/el-salvador-s-state-of-exception-makes-women-collateral-damage-pub-89686

Femicide rates by country 2023. (n.d.). https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/femicide-rates-by-country

Irwin, Z. (2023, June 29). Burkina Faso’s military accused of killings, torture in latest human rights watch report. AP News. https://apnews.com/article/burkina-faso-human-rights-killings-torture-a8abac14cf931c6e35735850e2498757

Nashed, M. (2023, November 10). “corpses on Streets”: Sudan’s RSF kills 1,300 in Darfur, monitors say. Al Jazeera. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/11/10/corpses-on-streets-sudans-rsf-kills-1300-in-darfur-monitors-say

Nugent, C. (2019, May 14). Violence in El Salvador is driving women to the U.S. border. Time. https://time.com/5582894/gender-violence-women-el-salvador/

Princewill, N. (2023, November 13). EU says roughly 100 civilians reportedly killed during massacre on village in Burkina Faso. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2023/11/13/africa/eu-says-around-100-civilians-reportedly-killed-in-burkina-faso-village-massacre/index.html

Sudan: Darfur town destroyed. Human Rights Watch. (2023b, July 12). https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/07/11/sudan-darfur-town-destroyed

United Nations. (n.d.). Un 67% de las mujeres ha sufrido algún tipo de violencia en el salvador | noticias onu. United Nations. https://news.un.org/es/story/2018/04/1431372

Zanzinger, K. (2021, March 5). Underreported and unpunished, femicides in El Salvador continue. NACLA. https://nacla.org/news/2021/03/04/femicides-el-salvador-pandemic 

Emmy Weiss

St. John's '27

My name is Emmy Weiss and I have been writing since the second I learned how. I am a marketing major at St. John's University starting the first semester of my freshman year. I hope to work in the entertainment (specifically animation) industry after graduation. Before that, I went to Kellenberg Memorial High School, where I did various service, dance, and literature clubs! I have a sister who is one year younger than me (we're both leos!) and two cats named Peabody and Jason Derulo. Peabody likes to help me write. I'm a huge fan of Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers, AJR, Jukebox the Ghost, Olivia Rodrigo and Queen. My favorite shows right now are Heartstopper and Banana Fish (completely different vibes). I was on a dance team in high school and love doing it for fun!