The participation of many Afghan women in Thursday's elections is threatened by strict polling regulations and fraud. A severe shortage of female workers to staff women-only polling places will limit the ability of millions of women cast their ballots, reports the Independent UK. The country's Independent Election Commission says it needs 13,000 additional women to staff the polls, though the number may actually be as high as 42,000.
Women's rights activist Wazhma Frogh told the Independent UK that female staff are necessary in the strictly sex-segregated polls, "Otherwise women won't dare go out. Their families won't let them."
Women's voter registration cards are frequently used as tools for fraud because unlike men's they do not include a photograph for identification. Cultural norms often prohibit women from appearing in photographs with their faces uncovered. As a result, men can easily engage in proxy voting by collecting the registration cards of women in their families.
Dr. Sima Samar, chairwoman of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, says there are suspiciously high levels of female registration in especially conservative areas of southern Afghanistan where women are discouraged from appearing in public, reports Reuters. An unnamed source told Reuters that in several provinces, the number of registered female voters exceeds the number of women in the area. "People are aware that it's much easier to stuff a woman's ballot box than a man's," the source said.
Media Resources: The Independent UK 8/17/09; Reuters 8/14/09
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. . . .