Afghan Female Judge Dismissed for Meeting Without Headscarf
Afghan officials acknowledged Saturday that a female judge was dismissed last month, because she appeared without a headscarf at a meeting with President Bush and the First Lady, according to Reuters. Judge Marzeya Basil, 44, joined 13 other female Afghan government officials in visiting the US on invitation by the US government to attend computer courses; however, she was removed from judgeship soon after returning to Afghanistan. Deputy Chief Justice and vice president of the Afghan Supreme Court, Fazi Ahmad Manawi denied knowledge of her dismissal, but advised that Afghan women heed the dress code within Afghanistan as well as overseas.
Despite the Taliban’s fall from power late last year, fundamentalists persist among members of the current Afghan government. Pressure from fundamentalist factions of the country have led to the re-establishment of the former Taliban’s Ministry of Vice and Virtue, which was charged with enforcing a strict interpretation of Islamic law, according to USA Today. Under President Hamid Karzai, the agency has been renamed the Ministry of Religious Instruction and proclaims to offer citizens guidance, without the use of violence to enforce religious law.
Still, further evidence of increasing hostility to women’s rights in the country has been mounting, with the attack of four additional girls’ schools last month, bringing the total known attacks to twelve over the last two months. Pamphlets and fliers found in the area of several of the attacked schools indicate that women’s rights in Afghanistan are at stake. In the most recent attacks, anonymous letters appeared linking the attacks to anti-US and anti-women’s rights sentiments in the country, according to the New York Times. Many of the attacks have occurred in the remote regions away from the capitol of Kabul, where there are no foreign peacekeeping troops and local warlords with US-supplied weapons rule.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan last week echoed statements by President Karzai and US Army General Tommy Franks, conceding that the “most serious challenge facing Afghanistan and Afghans today remains the lack of security,” reported theInter Press Service News.
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. . . .