Historic “Comfort Women’s” Trial Underway In Tokyo
For the first time in history, claims of forced servitude and rape made by more than 200,000 women during World War II in Japan are heard before a symbolic court lead by Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, former president of International War Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Women from North and South Korea, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines and East Timor gathered in Tokyo to demand an official apology and compensation from the Japanese government for its system of using “comfort women” to serve the Japanese Imperial Army. “Comfort Women” survivors told stories during the tribunal of being abducted as early as age 15, beaten, harassed and forced to have sexual intercourse with up to 20 men a day. Testimonies from the survivors included reports that many women were left without any money, no transportation home and ostracized from their communities after Japan’s defeat in World War II. Today, there are approximately 1,988 survivors of the comfort system with 90 percent of whom suffering from physical and psychological damage.
The last stage of the Tokyo Tribunal ends today with a public hearing involving testimonies from 14 women in areas, including Afghanistan, Mexico and Sierra Leone, where recent war crimes were committed against women.
Media Resources: IPS 10 December 2000, Associated Press 11 December 2000, Feminist Global News Wire
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. . . .