Afghanistan: Security and Rule of Law Failing Due to Lack of Funds
Amnesty International issued a report last week on the failure of donor countries in supporting efforts to reestablish the rule of law in Afghanistan. According to the report, "as the international community focuses its attention on post-conflict reconstruction in Iraq, it is crucial that it does not rescind promises made to the Afghan people."
The report goes on to state that "the high level of discrimination against women in Afghanistan is reflected in the criminal justice system. Women victims and defendants are being denied access to justice and are discriminated against by both the formal and informal justice systems." The report details how women and girls who are victims of rape, domestic violence, and forced underage marriage are not being protected under the current system. Women and girls are sometimes even prosecuted and forced to undergo virginity tests for engaging in sexual activity.
This report comes at a time when the security situation in Afghanistan is swiftly deteriorating. Human Rights Watch recently issued a report warning that warlords are threatening the success of the 2004 elections by their use of violence and intimidation, the United Nations withdrew its aid workers from the south due to violence in the area, and over 90 people were killed throughout the country in a week as a result of Taliban attacks and factional fighting.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .