As the U.S.-led war on terrorism ensues, Afghan and U.S. women continue to urge for the restoration of Afghan women’s rights in post-Taliban Afghanistan. Highlighted in the Declaration of the Essential Rights of Afghan Women, drafted at the “Conference for Women of Afghanistan” in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, those rights include the right to personal safety, the right to physical and mental health, the right to institutional education, and the right to equal protection under the law. Barbara Beck, a U.S. feminist and Conference attendee who has just returned from Northern Alliance-controlled Afghanistan, said that “the idea was that whenever the Taliban could be dislodged, there would be a constitution and in it we would be pressing for these rights. We never thought last summer it would come so soon.”
The Declaration of the Essential Rights of Afghan Women was derived from the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and the Afghan Constitutions of 1964 and 1977. The Declaration specifically recognizes that “the torture and inhumane and degrading treatment imposed by the Taliban on women, as active members of society, have put Afghan society in danger.” The Association to Support the Women of Afghanistan (NEGAR), a Paris-based Afghan organization, sponsored the June 2000 Conference attended by both Afghan women – including women from inside of Afghanistan, Afghan women living in the U.S. and Europe, and more than 250 Afghan women refugees from Tajikistan and Iran – and non-Afghans from five continents.
The Feminist Majority has supported the Declaration of the Essential Rights of Afghan Women and has launched a massive campaign aimed at increasing humanitarian aid to the Afghan people, the restoration of Afghan women’s rights, and the establishment of a constitutional democracy in Afghanistan. To find out how you can help, log on to www.HelpAfghanWomen.com.
Media Resources: Washington Post, 10/10/01; Declaration of the Essential Rights of Afghan Women; Feminist Majority
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. . . .