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 .
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. . . .