Hundreds of protesters yesterday demonstrated in the Afghan capital of Kabul, demanding that the government adhere to the 2001 Bonn agreement, which laid the groundwork for a return to democracy in Afghanistan. Zarmina Akhgar, deputy chairwoman of the Freedom and Democracy Movement (Dari: Nahzat-e Azadi wa Democracy) joined other demonstrators, including members of the National and Islamic Movement (Dari: Jonbesh-e Melli wa Eslami) in calling for "equality of rights for men and women in real sense," saying, "Now, we have the permission to come out of our houses, but we want women to play a more significant role," according to the BBC.
Included in the 11-article communiqué submitted by protesters to the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) was a call to reopen the independent weekly newspaper Aftab, forced to close last month for criticizing Afghan warlords in the current administration. "We need press freedom and we don't want any fundamentalists in government," Jawid Khoystani told the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, the situation in Afghanistan remains unstable, with continuing murders of aid workers, attacks on United Nations de-mining operations, Taliban-like restrictions in some provinces, factional fighting, and the bombing of girls' schools. The Feminist Majority continues leading the call for International Security Assistance Force (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.
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. . . .