Female Delegates Win Clear Definition of Citizen in Afghanistan's Constitution
Female delegates of Afghanistan's Loya Jirga won one of their major demands. The final draft of the constitution now states that all citizens of Afghanistan, both men and women, have equal rights under the law. According to IRIN News, a female delegate said, "This is one of the major demands of women and we hope it will not be rejected or changed by others."
However, the Reconciliation Committee agreed to amend Article 3 of the Constitution to say that legislation cannot contravene "the beliefs and provisions" of Islam, reports the Associated Press. This leaves women's rights and human rights in many areas vulnerable to extreme interpretations of Islam. Efforts to weaken constitutional language requiring Afghanistan to abide by international treaties and conventions may also be under attack. In addition, it is unclear whether the current draft contains essential rights protections such as protection from forced marriage, early marriage, or trafficking.
According to the New York Times, the debate around the constitution has moved away from topics such as Islam, women's rights, and human rights and has turned to the struggle between the Pashtuns and the Tajiks. There has been fierce debate over the issues about the accountability of the president, the official languages of Afghanistan, and whether ministers can hold dual nationality, reports BBC News.
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell as out of order.
Republican legislators have redoubled their efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood since the release of two heavily edited clandestine videos of different PPFA employees taken without their knowledge. . . .
7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .