The United States submitted a draft Security Council resolution insisting that contributing states—not the International Criminal Court (ICC)—have exclusive responsibility for investigating and prosecuting crimes allegedly committed by their nationals during their peacekeeping missions, during discussions last week to extend the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH). The draft resolution states: that peacekeepers “shall enjoy in the territory of all member states other than the contributing state immunity from arrest, detention, and prosecution with respect to all acts arising out of the operation, and … this immunity shall continue after termination of their participation in the operation,” according to the UN Wire. The United States has threatened to withdraw its 712 troops from UN peacekeeping missions if demands are not met, according to Reuters. No one in the 15-member council agrees with the US position. According to Richard Dicker of Human Rights Watch: “Peacekeepers are protected by status of forces’ immunity agreements that are standard to all UN peacekeeping agreements, which say national courts have exclusive jurisdiction over their national soldiers. So any US personnel in a UN Security Council-mandated mission are already protected and under the exclusive authority of US courts.” The UN Security Council last month defeated a similar resolution submitted by the US at the UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET).
Sixty-seven nations have ratified the Rome Statute, the treaty establishing the ICC. The Court enters into force July 1. Last week, several European nations with troops in Afghanistan, received written assurances that their troops serving as peacekeepers would be immune from arrest or surrender to the ICC, according to the Washington Post. This agreement put the US and its allies sharply at odds with Bush’s proposal to exclude personnel in all UN missions from the reach of the ICC, according to the Post. For the past several months, the Feminist Majority and other women’s organizations as well as the United Nations and the interim Afghan government have asked the Bush administration to expand US peacekeeping troops in order to protect the Afghan people.
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. . . .