Afghanistan: Lack of Security Threatens Women’s Rights, Lives
UNIFEM Executive Director Noeleen Heyzer this week identified lack of security as the major threat to women in Afghanistan. Factional fighting and only a limited International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) could prevent economic development, the successful establishment of democracy, and the return of women’s rights. Heyzer urged the international community to increase efforts to restore security within the country, emphasizing that stability was absolutely essential to restoring women’s rights. Women, according to Heyzer, will be key in the restoration of civil society in Afghanistan. “They are the ones that will rebuild this community out of the framework of warring tribes and out of the framework of competing ethnic groups.”
Women, however, are still fearful as conflicts continue within the country, and Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned that factional fighting in Afghanistan has begun to increase. “If the international community doesn’t take more effective steps immediately to establish security throughout Afghanistan, the country is likely to return to the rampant human rights abuses and warlordism that characterized the last decade,” cautioned HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth. HRW is calling on the U.S. to step up international security by expanding security forces outside Kabul, civilian monitoring of human rights abuses, and efforts to disarm militias.
The Feminist Majority, along with several women’s rights groups, has been urging the Bush Administration to support an increase in peacekeeping troops in the ISAF. Currently, the ISAF is a force of about 4,800 troops concentrated in Kabul. Troops should be deployed throughout Afghanistan to help ensure women’s security as factional fighting rages and as women continue to fear the re-imposition of Taliban-like restrictions by regional warlords.
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. . . .