UN Human Rights Expert Condemns Taliban Atrocities
Kamal Hossain, special rapporteur of the UN High Commission on Human Rights, has urged US policy makers to approach the Afghanistan issue with a "comprehensive" approach rather than focusing simply on bin Laden. He suggested a peace process framework that focuses on human rights and allows the general population to participate in the rebuilding of the country. Hossain points out in his report presented to the UN General Assembly on Thursday, "An aspect of the recently resumed conflict to which attention needs to be drawn is the reportedly widespread deployment of non-Afghan-national combatants, many from neighboring countries, who have demonstrated a propensity for committing atrocities against civilians." The special rapporteur reports that, "Grave breaches of humanitarian law have occurred in the course of the recently resumed conflict, which continues." Hossain points to violations that include "destruction of homes and sources of livelihood, and abduction of and violence against women." The Feminist Majority Foundation has appealed to the United States government and to the United Nations not to recognize the Taliban unless the human rights of women and girls are fully and permanently restored.
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. . . .