Senate Committee to Address Expansion of Peacekeeping Troops in Afghanistan
In the wake of violence and intimidation against human rights advocates in Afghanistan, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing at 10:45 a.m. tomorrow to address the issue of expansion of peace troops in Afghanistan. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz will testify and respond to questions from Senators concerning security and reconstruction in Afghanistan. The Feminist Majority Foundation along with other women’s rights, human rights and humanitarian aid organizations have requested for months that the troops be expanded in Kabul and beyond to ensure safe and secure conditions for the people of Afghanistan. “Immediate expansion of peace troops is absolutely essential to the restoration of women’s rights, re-establishment of democracy and establishment of a central government in Afghanistan,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation.
The need for US support of expansion of peace troops has been shown by recent threats against women’s rights leader Dr. Sima Samar, outgoing Minister of Women’s Affairs, and other outspoken advocates to the loya jirga. In addition, several international aid workers have suffered from violence and intimidation. In northern Afghanistan, a woman working for a nongovernmental organization was gang raped by seven men who attacked her vehicle and beat up the Afghan staff member with her. A US aid organization vehicle carrying food to a camp for displaced Afghans was attacked and a health clinic operated by a nongovernmental organization (NGO) was shot at by several gunmen. Several international groups have already left Afghanistan while several others are threatening to leave. Approximately 68 NGOs have joined the United Nations in a plea to the US to expand peacekeeping troops and ensure security throughout the country. TAKE ACTIONSupport Expansion of International Peacekeeping Troops in Afghanistan
Media Resources: Feminist Majority Foundation 6/25/02; Feminist News 6/20/02
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. . . .