Afghanistan: Troubles Persist, NATO to Assume Control of ISAF
As the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) readies to take control of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on Monday, Afghanistan continues to struggle amidst growing attacks on aid workers and law enforcement officers in its provinces. Despite repeated calls by the United Nations (UN), Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and progressive organizations including the Feminist Majority, ISAF remains confined within Kabul. At his farewell press conference this week, outgoing ISAF commander Lt. Gen. Norbert van Heyst of Germany credited ISAF for securing the capital city of Kabul; however, "What I really want to do is to wake up the international community to do each and every thing to provide security in the province," reported the Agence France Presse. Since late July, roughly 60 people have died in attacks by suspected al-Qaeda supporters, predominantly in the south-the former stronghold of the Taliban, the AFP reported. Just yesterday, six Afghan soldiers and a US aid worker were killed by ambush in the southern province of Helmand.
Since the Taliban's ouster in 2001, Afghan women in Kabul have slowly begun returning to school and work. Earlier this month, Afghan women's rights advocates submitted 100,000 signed copies of the "Declaration of the Essential Rights of Afghan Women," urging the country's 35-member constitutional commission to grant women fundamental rights and freedoms in the new constitution. However, because security remains a concern, many women continue to wear the burqa, according to Reuters. "A country's tradition is stronger than its constitution; we cannot change it very quickly... It's very difficult, and we must go carefully step by step," Dr. Soraya Rahim, deputy minister of Afghanistan's Ministry of Women's Affairs told Reuters.
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .