Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Sunday that he will not sacrifice women's rights in any peace deal with the Taliban.
In an interview, President Karzai discussed plans to negotiate peace with members of the Taliban who are willing to break ties with terrorist groups like al-Qaida, according to the Associated Press. Karzai reportedly said that Afghan women will have "solid and meaningful" representation at these negotiations, so that the political, economic and social gains that have been made for women in recent years will not only be protected, but will also be expanded.
Fawzia Koofi, the former Deputy Speaker of Afghanistan's parliament, recently told Time Magazine that "Women's rights must not be the sacrifice by which peace is achieved,"
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged in May that the United States will not abandon Afghan women and girls in it's Afghanistan strategy.
In February 2010, Dr. Sima Samar, who leads Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission and Rachel Reid of Human Rights Watch, among others, testified before two subcommittees of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and warned that Afghan women must be included in the reconciliation and reintegration process. Samar stated that the "reconciliation and reintegration cannot be successful without women's rights and human rights being guaranteed and women being included in all aspects of the rebuilding of Afghanistan. The process must be transparent in order to gain the public support of the Afghan people." Reid reported that women in Afghanistan "are concerned about the potential consequences of deals with insurgents for their basic rights - even those who are barely able to exercise these rights today."
Media Resources: Associated Press 8/22/10; Time Magazine 7/29/10; Feminist Newswire 5/14/10; Feminist Majority Press Release 2/25/2010
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .