UN Security Council Condemns Sexual Violence in War
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led the United Nations Security Council yesterday in adopting a resolution condemning sexual violence in war zones. The US-drafted resolution, passed unanimously by the Council, calls on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to appoint a team of experts to address the issue, reports Voice of America News.
Secretary Clinton, who currently holds the rotating Council presidency, emphasized the need for more support of women trapped in conflict. "The role and rights of women in today's world is a critical, core concern of foreign policy. It is national security. Of course it has a moral, and human, and social, and economic dimension. But the more we know about conflicts, the more we realize that women -- who do not start conflicts -- are often the victims. But women have tremendous potential for being peacemakers and peacekeepers," Clinton said, according to Radio Free Europe.
The United Nations Development Fund for Women reports that about half a million women were raped during the 1994 Rwanda genocide, 60,000 were raped during the 1990s Balkan wars and hundreds of thousands have been victimized in the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to a State Department press release.
Speaking before the Council's session, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon acknowledged that perpetrators of sexual assault are rarely held responsible for their crimes. "Despite some progress in responding to sexual violence in armed conflict the deliberate targeting of civilians continues unabated including on a widespread systemic basis. Sexual violence in armed conflict or indeed at any time should have no place and find no haven in the world," he said, reports Radio Free Europe.
Media Resources: Voice of America News 9/30/09; Radio Free Europe 10/1/09; State Department 9/30/09
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
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. . . .