In a report released yesterday, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan called the security situation in Afghanistan unstable. Annan named the expansion of the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) beyond the capital city of Kabul as "the best way to fill in the security gap" that threatens the peace in Afghanistan, according to a UN release.
"The overall situation throughout Afghanistan remains fragile and, in many areas, exhibits signs of deterioration," Annan says in his quarterly report on Afghanistan, Sify reports. "Without security, the accomplishments of the Government of Afghanistan and the significant investments of the international community are at risk," the report states, according to the UN release. Annan emphasizes that the security situation must improve in order for the elections slated for summer 2004 to be held in a fair and free manner that allows Afghans to fully participate in the political process. A report issued by Human Rights Watch this week also called for the expansion of ISAF in an effort to protect women's rights and promote full participation in the elections.
The Feminist Majority has been 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 in order to protect women's rights in Afghanistan.
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. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .