After forcing the closure of the United Nations' "widows' bakeries" in the Afghanistan capital city of Kabul and thrusting thousands of Afghan women and their families into poverty and starvation, the Taliban militia has withdrawn the order. The Taliban initially shut down the U.N. subsidized bakeries because the militia has banned women from employment outside the home, including working with any U.N. agency or other aid organization. Outrage in Afghanistan and internationally forced the Taliban to reverse the decree. In response to the Taliban's reversal, a spokesperson for the U.N. World Food Program said, "We welcome this decision and we hope the ban on women's employment would be fully rescinded."
Taliban rulers have created "the world's worst human rights situation," said Sehar Saba, spokeswoman for the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan when speaking to the U.N. Subcommission on Human Rights in Geneva. Saba urged the United Nations to send peacekeeping forces to the war-torn country and impose sanctions on countries that recognize or aid the Taliban. Currently Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates do identify the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.
Because the Taliban is not recognized internationally as the country's official government, their plea to participate in the 2000 Sidney Olympic Games has been denied by the International Olympic Committee. The Taliban has suggested that the IOC is discriminating against them because they do not allow women to participate in sports and would not send female athletes to the Games.
Media Resources: Reuters; BBC; AP - August 18, 2000
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. . . .