A deal has been struck between the provincial government and local officials and militants in a northern part of Pakistan known as the Swat Valley that will allow girls to return to school there.
In December, regional Taliban leader Mullah Shah Doran announced an education ban on women and girls in the Swat Valley. The directive set a deadline of January 15 for all girls, both in single-sex and co-educational schools, to be withdrawn. The Taliban threatened to bomb schools that ignored the directive and to severely punish violators. At the time, teacher Mohamed Osman told the Times of India that "we have no choice but to follow the orders. The government cannot give us protection. Taliban runs a parallel government in 90 percent of the area of the district and they execute everyone who opposes them."
In recent months, thousands have fled the Swat Valley, formerly a tourist destination. Shahnaz Kahn, a mother who fled the region, told Irin that "All the best teachers from my children's schools have left. I do not think they will go back…According to my relatives there, many children have gone back to schools but there are now too few teachers"
Enrollment of women and girls in schools and colleges in the Swat Valley region before the ban was only a quarter of what it was only three years ago, before the Taliban gained strength there, according to the The Australian. In the past year, more than 180 schools, many of which were all girl institutions, have been destroyed in the area. During the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which lasted until 2001, Afghan girls were forbidden to attend school.
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 1/5/09, 2/19/09; The Australian 2/20/09; Times of India 1/4/09l; Irin 1/1/09, 3/4/09
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. . . .
10/29/2014 North Dakota Supreme Court Upholds Abortion Restrictions - The North Dakota Supreme Court yesterday upheld a set of misguided restrictions on medication abortion, allowing what is effectively a ban on early, non-surgical abortions in the state to go into effect immediately.
The decision overturned a lower court order finding the law, known as HB 1297, unconstitutional and permanently blocking its enforcement. . . .