Afghanistan: Hearing Calls for Expansion of Peacekeeping Troops
At a House hearing held yesterday on Afghanistan's reconstruction, Representative Tom Lantos (D-CA) called upon NATO, which recently agreed to take over the 4,500 person peacekeeping force in Afghanistan (ISAF), to double the size of ISAF. He also called for NATO to expand its mandate to provide greater security throughout the country and "to prevent acts of banditry, human rights abuses and intimidation." Lantos said that the current ISAF presence in Afghanistan is an "insufficient response to meet the security needs even in Kabul," which is the only city in Afghanistan with an ISAF presence.
Dr. Barnett Rubin of the Center on International Cooperation at New York University acknowledged the presence in the audience of dozens of women's rights activists organized by the Feminist Majority wearing "Expand ISAF for Afghan Women" stickers. He said that security was the number one issue for women and that "if women are not secure enough to go around and to go to school then all other things we are talking about will have no effect."
Reps. Diane Watson (D-CA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) protested the absence of women from the two panels of the House hearing. One "mistake we have is putting a panel on like this without one woman on it...if this government is working for its people it needs to liberate its women," said Watson.
A report recently released by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Asia Society criticizes the Bush Administration peacekeeping policy as failing "to address the growing security challenge that [President Karzai's] government faces." The report calls for an increase and expansion of peacekeeping troops outside of the capital, for the disarmament of local militias, for increasing the Afghan National Army force to 27,000, and for the US to provide at least $1 billion in reconstruction aid each year over the next five years.
7/1/2015 Women's Rights Activists are Suing the Kenyan Government for Reproductive Rights - A woman in Kenya is suing the Kenyan government for failure to provide safe and legal abortions, which caused her daughter - a 15-year-old rape victim - to suffer a kidney failure after undergoing the procedure illegally.
Currently, there are four petitioners on the case: the mother of the survivor, the Federation of Women Lawyers-Kenya, and two other women's rights advocates. . . .
6/30/2015 Supreme Court Ruling Prevents Gerrymandering in Arizona - In a 5-4 decision delivered by Justice Ginsburg this morning, the Supreme Court upheld Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, allowing the use of independent state commissions that draw federal congressional districts, taking that power away from the state legislature.
This gives states an opportunity to deal with partisan gerrymandering by giving an independent commission power to draw federal congressional districts.
In 2000, Arizona voters amended their constitution, shifting the responsibility of drawing congressional districts, previously held by the state legislature, to a panel called the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. . . .