Campaign Workers for Afghan Woman Candidate Murdered
The bodies of five campaign workers who had been working for a woman parliament candidate in Afghanistan's Herat province were found over the weekend. The workers had been campaigning for incumbent Fauzia Galani, who is one of the few women candidates in the upcoming September elections. According to the BBC, the murdered workers were part of a group of 10 campaign workers that had been kidnapped last week. Five of the kidnapped people were later released. The Taliban has publicly claimed responsibility for the abductions, but not the killings.
The execution of Galani's campaign workers is one of many recent acts of election-related violence. Other recent incidents include the murder of candidate Haji Abdul Manan, who was gunned down as he walked near his home in Herat province on Saturday, according to Reuters. The United Nations has reported that three other candidates were killed by unknown assailants earlier this month.
The parliamentary elections are planned for September 18. There are about 2,500 candidates, 385 of whom are women, running for the 249 seats in the lower house. Sixty-five of the seats are reserved for women. According to Reuters, officials have already announced that more than 900 of 6,835 polling locations will not open due to security issues. In last year's presidential elections, women were unable to vote in some parts of Afghanistan and women's voting cards were used to stuff ballot boxes in some polling locations. In some areas that are not controlled by the Taliban, women accounted for nearly 60 percent of voters. Women's participation last year was particularly low in Taliban controlled southern regions and in places where segregated women-only polling places did not open due to lack of staff.
Media Resources: Reuters 8/29/10; BBC 8/29/10; United Nations Press Release 8/12/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 8/21/09, 8/10/10
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. . . .