Women Lawmakers Keep Afghan Women Funding in Supplemental
Women members of the House and Senate succeeded in their fight to keep language in the Iraq and Afghanistan Emergency Supplemental appropriations package that provides funds for programs for women and for human rights. In conference committee negotiations, some male lawmakers tried to delete $60 million designated for women's programs in the Afghanistan reconstruction package, claiming that this amount was too large of a portion of the overall $1.2 billion Afghan reconstruction package.
After contentious debate, Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Mary Landreiu (D-LA), and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) succeeded in keeping the funding for women's programs, along with $5 million earmarked for the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, in the bill. According to the Washington Post, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) challenged her male colleagues who attempted to take out the money, asking how they could eliminate funding for the "brutalized women of Afghanistan." "It's been stripped out. Who ever heard of such a thing?" said Landreiu.
Introduced by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), the Afghan women's program funding amendment passed the House on a voice vote with bi-partisan support. The funds were authorized last year in an amendment by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to the Afghan Freedom Support Act of 2002.
Women's rights, human rights, and Afghan groups have criticized the Bush Administration for shortchanging Afghanistan's reconstruction. While Congress added $400 million more to Afghanistan's reconstruction than requested by President Bush, the spending for Iraq's reconstruction is 20 times more than Iraq's despite the fact that the two countries are the same size and Afghanistan has suffered more destruction over 23 years of war.
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. . . .