Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on Monday that sexual violence in Darfur continues to be a constant threat for women and girls. According to HRW, the Sudanese government repeatedly denies the fact that sexual violence occurs in Darfur. Most crimes against women are left unpunished.
The report documents violence against girls as young as 11. The majority of the violence is committed by government forces and militias allied with them. The BBC News reports that over 200,000 people have died in Darfur since 2003 as a result of the genocide.
HRW called on the government of Sudan and the United Nations (UN)- African Union peacekeeping force (UNAMID) to address the issue of widespread sexual violence. They asked the government to condemn sexual violence and enforce the condemnation with the end of impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence. They also encourage UNAMID to deploy more women police officers and to create "firewood patrols" to protect women and girls outside refugee camps.
Georgette Gagnon, Africa director of HRW, said, "The victims of these horrific attacks have little or no hope of redress in Darfur's current climate of impunity. By failing to prosecute the perpetrators, the government is giving them a license to rape. Five years living in fear of rape is five years too long. Women and girls in Darfur urgently need protection, and those who are victims need justice."
Media Resources: Human Rights Watch Press Release 04/07/08; Five Years On, No Justice for Sexual Violence in Darfur; BBC News 04/07/08; Reuters 04/08/08
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. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .