Afghan Refugees Denied Entrance; Holocaust History May Repeat Itself
Citing concerns over growing populations of asylum seekers, Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, continues to refuse to allow 434 refugees, mainly from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, to dock at an Australian port on Christmas Island. The refugees were rescued from a sinking Indonesian ferry Monday by a Norwegian freight ship. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, has condemned the Australian government’s conduct explaining, “The convention (on refugees) provides that they should be accepted at the nearest port…and they should be treated in an appropriate human rights way.” As each day passes, this international impasse, becomes increasingly reminiscent of the SS St. Louis, which held a group of Jews seeking asylum from Nazi Germany in 1939. The ship was denied entry into several countries, including the United States, before being sent back to Europe, sending many of the Jews to their deaths in the Holocaust.
As groups of refugees are being detained and turned away Down Under, U.N. officials have begun to interview tens of thousands of Afghan families currently living in Pakistan to determine which will be allowed to stay and which will be deported. Two refugee camps are scheduled for closure, wide-scale deportations have already begun, and Pakistani officials have expressed the misguided opinion that Afghan refugees should return to their homeland. Afghanistan has been at civil war for more than twenty years and is experiencing its third year of record setting drought and famine. Additionally, the Taliban militia continues to deny women and girls access to education, employment, health care, and other basic human rights, exacerbating the tragic humanitarian crisis.
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. . . .