Afghanistan Launches Plan for Action Amid Violence
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday launched a three-year action plan to stabilize and bring justice to the country, which has been in conflict since 1979. The "Action Plan on Peace, Reconciliation and Justice in Afghanistan" outlines five major elements that are deemed necessary to bring justice to Afghanistan; according to IRIN Newswire, these five principles are "acknowledgment of the suffering of the Afghan people, strengthening state institutions, finding out the truth about the country�s bloody past, promoting reconciliation, and establishing a proper accountability mechanism." Tom Koenigs, the UN envoy to Afghanistan, approves of the plan and pledges the UN�s support, saying, "This is a remarkable step, and especially so for a country that has suffered so much and in which conflict remains all too present� I applaud this courageous move," IRIN reports.
The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, headed by human rights champion Sima Samar, led a National Consultation on Transitional Justice and made recommendations for the national plan. According to Samar, in interviews with over 7,300 people, 69 percent identified themselves as victims of human rights violations and 76 percent believe that a sincere effort to prosecute war criminals will increase stability and security in Afghanistan. funny dog pictures
The announcement of the action plan comes during a time when increased violence and turmoil continue to plague the country. Reuters reports that an estimated 1.5 million Afghans have died and some 5 million have been forced to flee the country since the Soviets occupied the country in 1979. Between 1989 and 1994, Afghanistan was in a state of civil war, which was followed by the oppressive Taliban rule until late 2001. Recently, a suicide bomber outside the governor�s compound in Kandahar killed eight people and wounded eight others, the Associated Press reports, and two women teachers along with three of their relatives were murdered in their home, ABC News reports. funny pictures
Violence against women is on the rise, and the reemergence of the Taliban has severely restricted girls from attending school. Lawmaker Shinka Kharokhail told ABC, "Many villagers have stopped letting their girls go to school, fearing they will be targeted by the Taliban." Over 400 girls� schools have been burned, and teachers are murdered for continuing to teach girls. ABC reports that the female literacy rate in Afghanistan is just 13 percent.
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .