Amnesty May Be Granted to Ugandan Responsible for Kidnapping, Sex Slavery
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni announced Tuesday that if peace talks are successful, he will grant amnesty to Joseph Kony, head of a Ugandan terrorist organization, despite the atrocities Kony has committed over the past 19 years. Under Kony's leadership, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has killed thousands and kidnapped approximately 20,000 Ugandan children. Many of the girls kidnapped by the LRA were forced into sex slavery, according to the BBC.
"Kony was abducting girls to offer them as rewards to his commanders," International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo told news service AllAfrica. Girls and women who are released following their abduction often returned home with HIV infections and children born of rape. According to a Ms. Spring 2006 report, countless women have faced shame and rejection upon their arrival from the LRA camps and must rely on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for support.
Museveni's promise of amnesty is contingent on the outcome of peace talks to be held next week between the Ugandan government and the LRA rebels. Ugandan officials told the BBC that Museveni would grant Kony amnesty if he "responds positively to the talks...and abandons terrorism." However, according to a BBC report on Wednesday, the ICC will continue to pursue an arrest of the fallen LRA leader, who currently faces a 33-count indictment, including 12 counts of crimes against humanity for the atrocities he has committed against women and young children. Said UN Humanitarian Affairs Chief Jan Egeland to the BBC, "[Kony's actions are] terrorism of the worst kind anywhere in the world."
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .