Poppy Trade Increasing in Afghanistan, UK Awaits Strong US Response
Poppy production is feared to be on the rise again in remote parts of Afghanistan. UK officials and customs agents report that farmers, lacking other means to support their families, have already planted poppy that will be ready for harvest in June. According to the Financial Times, Great Britain, Germany, Spain, and Italy are pushing for crop substitution programs and construction work that would allow farmers to earn a living without cultivating poppy. The U.S., however, according to British officials, is “showing limited interest” in the rise in opium production. Liverpool University professor Cindy Hamilton-Fazey assessed the situation saying, “With a weak government in Kabul and a U.S. government that is more interested in oil and counterterrorism in the region than drugs, it is inevitable that poppy cultivation is rapidly reasserting itself and that the tribal warlords will try and maximize their revenue from it.” 95 percent of the heroine in Europe originates from Afghanistan. When the Taliban was in power, revenue from poppy and heroin production funded the regime’s terrorist activities.
The Feminist Majority is calling for the US and the world community to make a commitment to a full-fledged reconstruction of Afghanistan that establishes a strong civil society, democracy, and economy. We are also urging that Afghan women be included in every aspect of the reconstruction process. To find out how you can become involved, log on to www.HelpAfghanWomen.com.
Media Resources: Financial Times, 2/22/02; UN Wire, 2/20/02; 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. . . .