Afghan Women Declare Action Plan for Reconstruction
Afghan women leaders meeting in Brussels concluded a roundtable meeting, sponsored by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the Belgian government, on Building Women’s Leadership in the Reconstruction of Afghanistan. Participants issued measures to ensure the full participation of women in all aspects of the reconstruction process and the successful implementation of services to meet women’s healthcare and educational needs. Specifically, the Brussels Action Plan calls for the creation of a Commission of Afghan Women, which will work directly with the transitional Afghan government to identify potential Afghan women leaders for newly created government leadership positions. Participants also called for the creation of a Human Rights Commission in Afghanistan, to monitor potential human rights abuses within Afghanistan and in Afghan refugee camps in neighboring countries, and a judicial system capable of prosecuting perpetrators of human rights abuses, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
The Brussels Action Plan also prioritizes the need for the United Nations to send a peacekeeping force into Afghanistan, the need for voluntary repatriation of refugees, and the need to implement solutions for mass social problems caused by years of gender apartheid. Women are to be central in meeting these needs, as participants called for “integrating women into all aspects of nation building on a sustainable basis.” As a result of the roundtable, UNIFEM will establish a Fund for Afghan Women’s Leadership to benefit the capacity-building of Afghan women’s organizations.
Media Resources: UNIFEM Press Release, 12/11/01; UNIFEM Roundtable, Brussels Action Plan
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. . . .