Over 125 women representing 14 countries and 22 US states joined with the East Timor Action Network (ETAN) to urge the United Nations Security Council to establish an international tribunal for East Timor. Since 1975 when the Indonesian military illegally invaded and occupied East Timor, the country has witnessed the killing of over 200,000 people, including the brutalization of women via rape, forced marriage, and forced sterilization. According to a study produced in 1999 by the Communication Forum for East Timorese Women, many of these acts were “planned [and] organized” by Indonesian militia and soldiers.
While in the past UN officials have called for an international human rights tribunal for East Timor, the Indonesian government has instead pledged to hold its own trials using an ad hoc Human Rights Court. Decrying the inadequacies of the ad hoc court and citing the recognition of rape as a crime against humanity by the Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ETAN has demanded that East Timor receive greater attention. In a statement released on Monday, ETAN declared, “The mothers of East Timor deserve the peace only justice can give them, and the international community has an obligation to welcome the birth of the world's newest country with a renewed commitment to justice.”
East Timor gains full independence on May 20.
Media Resources: East Timor Action Network, 5/13/01
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. . . .