Afghan Woman Loya Jirga Delegate Under UN Protection
Facing threats after she spoke out the appointment of mujahideen commanders to committee chair positions at Afghanistan's Loya Jirga, Malalai Joya, a delegate from Farah Province, was placed under United Nations' protection. According to the Associated Press, Joya spent the night at the U.N. compound. UN security personnel accompanied Joya throughout today's Loya Jirga session.
On Tuesday, Joya on the floor of the Loya Jirga questioned, "Why have you again selected as committee chairmen those criminals who have brought these disasters for the Afghan people. In my opinion, they should be taken to the world court."
After Joya spoke, former mujahideen fighters rushed toward the stage and Joya shouting "Death to Communists" and "God is Great." Amnesty International observers reported that some people at the Loya Jirga were overheard vowing to kill her, according to the New York Times.
Loya Jirga Chair Sebaghattullah Mojeddidi, an ally of President Karzai, initially asked for Joya's removal from the floor, condemning her behavior as "rude." Other delegates intervened and Joya was allowed to remain. Earlier in the week, Mojeddidi angered women delegates when he told them that they should not protest that no women delegates were elected to deputy positions because a woman was only worth half the value of a man.
Although women comprise some 20 percent of delegates, they have largely been excluded from leadership positions at the Loya Jirga. When no woman was elected as a deputy, Mojeddidi was forced to create an additional post and appoint Safia Seddiqi. However, none of the ten committee chairs who will oversee discussions on different articles on the constitution, including those pertaining to womenıs rights and human rights, are women.
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. . . .