State Dept. Cuts International HIV/AIDS Program Funding
In a now familiar move, the US State Department yesterday said it would halt government funding for an HIV/AIDS program serving African and Asian refugees. Despite admitting there was no evidence linking the family planning and abortion services group Marie Stopes International (MSI) with forced abortions and sterilizations in China, State Department officials insisted the organization's collaboration with the Chinese government and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was sufficient reason for the move.
This latest incident is yet another reminder of the administration's intimate ties with staunchly conservative groups. In April, the anti-abortion organization Population Research Institute (PRI)-founded by Human Life International, which aligns itself with the Roman Catholic Church-targeted MSI in its newsletter, accusing the group of undermining the global gag rule.
In July 2002, President Bush cut $34 million in funds for the UNFPA, insisting that the UN organization "knowingly supported or participated in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization in China." Bush's decision-which defied even the advice of his own fact-finding investigative team-was made based on unsubstantiated claims that originated from PRI.
Remaining members of the seven-group Reproductive Health for Refugees Consortium (International Rescue Committee, CARE, American Refugee Committee, Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, John Snow International, and Columbia University's Department of Population and Family Health), which operates the affected HIV/AIDS program, were granted $1 million in government funding for the first project year. The State Department offered continued support on the condition that members sever ties with MSI. The consortium refused the money and said it would not be strong-armed with "baseless allegations," New York Times reported.
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. . . .