UN Human Rights Official to Step Down in September
Mary Robinson announced that she will not seek another term as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and will instead vacate the office when her appointment ends in September. Robinson has received criticism from the United States for a myriad of issues, including her human rights concerns stemming from the U.S.-led war on terrorism. Robinson called attention to the number of civilian casualties from U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan and the treatment of prisoners under U.S. care at Guantanamo Bay. While the UN Secretary-General appoints the UN High Commission for Human Rights, member countries are allowed to make recommendations on the appointment. According to a Bush Administration official quoted in the New York Times, the U.S. “made clear, quietly, our views that [Robinson] shouldn’t be renewed.”
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, however, had glowing words for Robinson, a former president of Ireland. “She put human rights on the map, and she put lots of energy, creativity, and courage into very difficult work,” said Annan. “She has brought drive and application and integrity to the office, and she can leave in the full knowledghe that she has made a major contribution.”
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. . . .