In its annual report released yesterday, Amnesty International documented human rights abuses in 142 countries and territories, including the abused committed by Afghanistan's Taliban regime.
According to Amnesty, the Taliban massacred thousands of civilians and tortured thousands more in 1998. The report documented the Taliban's attacks surrounding Mazar-e-Sharif, where Taliban guards "deliberately and systematically killed thousands of ethnic Hazara civilians." It also recorded the lives of thousands killed "deliberately and arbitrarily" by various warring factions and noted that more than 1,000 people lives were taken by land mines.
Amnesty International also charged the Taliban with detailing and torturing Hazara, Tajik, Uzbek and Panjsheri men and boys. "Almost all prisoners detained on suspicion of opposing the Taliban were reported to have been tortured or ill-treated," read the report.
Regarding the Taliban's treatment of women, Amnesty wrote "Tens of thousands of women effectively remained prisoners in their homes. Fears of punishment prevents tens of thousands of women from seeking education and employment or leaving home without a close male relative."
Women and men caught defying the Taliban's harsh edicts were publicly humiliated and beaten by officers of the Department for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. Other punishments included eight floggings, fourteen public amputations, and ten public executions .
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. . . .