Bill Including Major Provisions for Afghan Women Moves Out of Committee
A comprehensive bill for assistance, stability, and security in Afghanistan was introduced in the House and voted out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee by a unanimous voice vote yesterday. Introduced by Representative Tom Lantos (D-CA), HR 2446 would reauthorize and expand upon the Afghanistan Freedom Support Act of 2002. The bill includes the major provisions of the Afghan Women Empowerment Act, including the authorization for three years of $5 million for the Afghan Ministry for Women's Affairs, $10 million for the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, and $30 million for Afghan-led non-governmental organizations that are providing assistance to Afghan women and girls. The new bill's section on assistance to women and girls is almost identical to the Afghan Women Empowerment Act, except that funding for "Afghan women-led" organizations was replaced with funding for "Afghan-led, including Afghan women-led" organizations.
In introducing the bill at the Foreign Affairs Committee meeting, Rep. Lantos said that Afghanistan is "once again on the brink... It is at real risk of falling into the hands of the Taliban... We cannot and will not allow [this] to happen. This time, we aim to get it right."
The bill addresses issues related to the drug trade in Afghanistan, corruption in government, and the extension of International Security Assistance Forces. The bill also includes assistance for energy development for internal consumption and export of natural gas and other energy sources.
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .