Report: Rape Used as “Weapon of War” by Burmese Military
Relations between the US and Burma (Myanmar) are once again strained following a report by Thailand-based human rights activists that charges the Burmese military with using systematic rape of ethnic civilians as a war tactic. In recent months, the Burmese government—aiming to gain favor from the Bush administration—released Nobel Peace Prize activist Aung San Suu Kyi and also hired a lobbying firm to facilitate the relation-building process. However, the report released by the Shan Human Rights Foundation and the Shan Women’s Action Network has prompted the State Department to issue warnings to the junta, calling for full investigation of the charges and punishment for “those guilty of such heinous crimes,” said a State Department official.
In a letter to Myanmar’s ambassador to the United States, the Burmese government rejected the report’s documentation of the rape of at least 625 girls and women in the largest ethnic minority state of Shan, which is currently seeking independence. “You will find that they are nothing but unverified testimonies said to have been provided by the so-called victims on the other side of the border.”
Media Resources: Washington Post 7/4/02; Associated Press 7/7/02
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. . . .