Security Concerns May Delay Afghan Elections, US May Arm Militias
Elections in Afghanistan that were planned for June may be postponed due to increased security threats. According to EurasiaNet, a leading expert on Afghanistan, Ahmed Rashid, cites the lack of security and the lack of international funding as the main reason for the possible postponement of the elections. Rashid also expressed his grave concern about the US discussion of creating a so-called Afghan Guard by rebuilding and arming militias that would undermine the United Nations disarmament program. According to the Financial Times, there are approximately 110,000 fighters in the militia groups. The Feminist Majority is concerned that the arming of local militias to increase security would worsen rather than solve the security problems in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Economic Policy, Chief Acquisition Officer of the US Agency for International Development Timothy Beans stated that the "security situation [in Afghanistan] is dominating everything." Beans reported that a lot of people want to go out to Afghanistan to work but the ongoing problem is the security situation that exists.
According to the New York Times, five Afghan aid workers were killed in an ambush just outside Kabul yesterday. More than a hundred people have been killed since the beginning of this year, including humanitarian aid workers, government officials, and foreign and Afghan security forces. Despite the dire security situation in Afghanistan, peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan are a small contingent of some 5,500. Without security, women in Afghanistan will never be able to obtain their rights and the country will never have sustained peace and democracy.
The Feminist Majority is leading the call for international peacekeeping force (ISAF) expansion, increased reconstruction funding, and more resources to support the work of the Ministry of Women's Affairs and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.
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. . . .
8/25/2015 Fraternity Signs Promote Rape Culture, Elicit Outrage - Old Dominion University (ODU) in Virginia is receiving national attention for a fraternity's vulgar and offensive signs that were on display as first-year students moved into their dorms.
The signs, which were hung on fraternity Sigma Nu and displayed derogatory messages for incoming female students- and their mothers- have since been removed, and the University has promised disciplinary action. . . .