UN Official Calls for Increase in International Troops in Afghanistan
The United Nations’ Special Representative on human rights in Afghanistan, Kamel Hossain, called for an immediate expansion of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan to help ensure the establishment of stability and democratic institutions. Hossain, who has made several trips to Afghanistan, cautioned that, “Security lapses could jeopardize the whole transition process” and urged that the ISAF be expanded by at least 10,000 to 20,000 troops. In his report to the UN Commission on Human Rights, Hossain noted that “violent crimes are taking place, some of which are reported to be ethnically motivated, resulting in cross-border refugee flows, and a number of them are reported to be directed against women.” While Hossain supports the creation of an Afghan army and a police force, efforts promoted by the U.S., to ameliorate the situation, he warned “you can’t wish it into existence overnight….Never has so much been at stake if a modest request for 10,000 to 20,000 international security forces is not urgently and immediately made available.”
Human Rights Watch (HRW) echoes Hossain's concerns. HRW researchers visited villages in northern Afghanistan and documented reports of violence and abuse against ehtnic Pastuns in the area. Some reported that they had been physically beaten and attacked. Others reported murders, kidnappings, lootings, and extortion. Sexual violence was also prevalent in the area, but according to HRW, "Pashtun women seemed especially singled out for attacks." HRW is now calling for an expansion of the ISAF to end the "campaign of violence" in the area.
The United States and France, however, have opposed the expansion of the ISAF, currently a force of 4,800 troops from Europe and New Zealand led by Britain.
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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. . . .
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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. . . .