Feminist Majority Foundation Condemns Taliban's Brutal Killing of Woman in Afghanistan and Calls for US Action
The Feminist Majority Foundation condemns the public stoning of a woman to death in Northern Afghanistan by the Taliban militia for allegedly committing adultery and calls for an end to the brutal gender apartheid regime that continues to terrorize the women and girls of Afghanistan.
"The on-going and increasing brutality of the Taliban regime is evident in this latest appalling human rights atrocity," proclaimed Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority.
The second reported public execution of a woman carried out in the past six months, the stoning took place in a sports stadium in Mazar-e-Sharif before several thousand people. There has been no report of what happened to the man involved in the alleged affair.
The Feminist Majority Foundation calls on President Clinton and Secretary of State Albright to publicly condemn this brutal murder and to increase US pressure to restore the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan fully and permanently.
Official Taliban decrees, punishable by beating, stoning, and death, ban women's work, education, and mobility. Afghan women and girls risk their lives daily to realize the very basic human needs. Even after international condemnation, the Taliban have only made slight and unofficial changes to their gender apartheid policies. Despite these changes, the overall reality of Afghan women and girls has remained unchanged. Women and girls in Afghanistan continue to live under virtual house arrest.
Afghan's continue to make up the world's largest refugee population with an estimated 2.5 million refugees in Pakistan and Iran alone. On-going Taliban military offensives have resulted in gross human rights violations and massive displacement of the civilian population, particularly women and children. According to UN estimates, over the course of 1999 an additional 200,000 persons have fled the fighting and an estimated 258,600 remain internally displaced. Ironically Afghanistan's estimated one million war widows ranks it among the countries with the highest female-headed household population.
Over 160 women's and human rights organizations join The Feminist Majority Foundation's Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan in imploring the United States and the United Nations to do everything in its power to help restore the rights of Afghan women and girls. The Campaign continues to press the United States government to deny the Taliban recognition until the rights of women and girls are fully and permanently restored, to increase humanitarian assistance directed to Afghan women and children, and to increase refugee admission of women and girls fleeing the brutal gender apartheid regime.
For more information go to www.feminist.org or call 1-888-WE-WOMEN.
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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. . . .