Religious fundamentalism is on the rise in Afghanistan, an international human rights group warned officials this week at the 59th session of the UN Human Rights Commission. Human Rights Watch (HRW) representative Loubna Freih addressed the Commission saying, "The international community has allowed warlords and local military commanders to take control of much of the country..." creating an environment "not unlike under the Taliban," according to HRW's statement before the Commission.
Despite repeated calls by feminist and progressive groups urging expansion of peacekeeping troops, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) remains limited within Kabul. Without adequate security and UN human rights monitoring, "efforts to break the cycle of impunity and the stranglehold of gunmen are unlikely to succeed," Freih continued.
The return of women and girls to school, once hailed as a milestone in the Taliban's removal from power, continues to face setbacks. Villagers near Gardez told the Christian Science Monitor, "We are happy the Taliban are gone; we have no choice but to be happy...But the problem today is that our areas are not safe. If you rebuild a school, but it's not safe, then the children can't go and what's the use of the school? If you build a road, but there is no security, then what's the use of the road?" Throughout the country, militias are forming, purporting to keep the peace. Currently, local warlords command an estimated 100,000 militiamen. The Afghan government intends to eventually replace those forces with a new national army, reported the Associated Press.
Moreover, Afghan Education Minister Yunus Qanooni said Wednesday that despite a promised $200 million budget for this school year, which started March 23, the ministry of education had only received $86 million so far, according to Agence France Presse. "If we are not successful in getting our proposed budget, this year we will be forced to stand at the school gates and tell the children not to come to school," he told AFP.
The Feminist Majority continues leading the call for ISAF expansion, increased reconstruction funding, and for more resources to support the work of the Ministry of Women's Affairs and the Independent Human Rights Commission.
2/27/2015 This Bipartisan Bill Will Hold Colleges Accountable for Ending Campus Sexual Assault - A bipartisan bill aimed at holding colleges and universities accountable for rape and sexual assault cases was introduced in Congress yesterday, spearheaded by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Some of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act's key key provisions include a requirement of confidential reporting systems on colleges and universities, minimum training requirements for campus personnel, and stricter penalties for schools found to be in violation of Title IX or the Clery Act. . . .
2/26/2015 If This Bill Passes Federal Law Will Add Consent to Sex Ed Curriculums - Right now, federal law does not require health or sex education to include sexual assault prevention - but that could change with a new bill introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).
The Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015, which was introduced earlier this month, would require all public secondary schools in the country to include teaching "safe relationship behavior" in order to help prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. . . .