Afghan interim Prime Minister Hamid Karzai stated his support for Afghan women’s rights last week by signing the Declaration of the Essential Rights of Afghan Women. Drafted in 2000 by participants in the Conference for Women of Afghanistan in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, the Declaration affirms women’s right to personal safety, the right to physical and mental health, the right to institutional education, the right not to wear the burqa, and the right to equal protection under the law. “This is extremely important,” said Nasrine Gross, an Afghan-American who leads grassroots activities in the U.S. for the Paris-based Association to Support the Women of Afghanistan (NEGAR) and who was with Karzai at the signing. “His signature puts on the record to his Cabinet and to all of Afghanistan in what direction the country will be going.” Five Afghan women were present at the signing where Karzai stressed that women’s rights were a part of Afghan tradition and the nature of Islam.
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.
Media Resources: Knight Ridder News Service, 1/16/02; 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. . . .