The Senate on Thursday approved an omnibus spending bill that included $34 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The House approved this bill (HR 2673), including the UNFPA funding, in December. UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Obaid thanked the US Congress, saying, "This critical funding will help save women's lives around the world, through the provision of voluntary family planning and reproductive health care." Obaid urged President Bush to allow these appropriated funds to be released so that the US "can rejoin all other industrialized countries in supporting UNFPA's work to promote voluntary family planning, safe motherhood, and HIV/AIDS prevention in the world's poorest countries."
The Bush Administration has refused to release UNFPA funding for the past two years based on false charges by the right-wing Population Research Institute that UNFPA supports coercive abortion in China. Bush cut funding to the UNFPA despite the fact that the Administration's own fact-finding team that found no evidence that the UN organization "has knowingly supported or participated in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization in China."
The Administration has not yet announced whether it will withhold the UNFPA funding again this year, according to the Inter Press Service. However, Bush has said he will sign the spending bill, the LA Times reports.
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. . . .