As the controversy swarms around the Talibanís refusal to release 24 humanitarian aid workers from custody, new reports of human rights abuses are emerging from one of the countryís poorest and most remote regions. According to refugee accounts, Taliban militants have set fire to businesses and villages in Yakawlang, Bamiyin, and the surrounding areas as recently as this June. The Taliban is also believed to have killed at least 170 men and teenage boys in January, after opposing forces took control of Yakawlang. Additional reports of mass murder and burnings have surfaced in recent weeks indicating that the fundamentalist militant group shot as many as 130 men, women, and children in recent military maneuvers, including several men who were trying to get back to their homes to tend their crops.
Given that Afghans are facing their fourth year of severe drought, those crops, along with continuing humanitarian aid, will be critical to civilian survival in the upcoming winter. However, as tension mounts between relief workers and Taliban officials, fear is growing that aid agencies may soon decide to leave. More than $300 million from countries and relief agencies around the world is currently provided to Afghan civilians.
Media Resources: BBC, 8/20/01; New York Times, 8/23/01
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. . . .