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.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .