Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Zieba Shorish-Shamley of the Women's Alliance for Peace and Human Rights in Afghanistan condemned the Taliban's oppression of women and girls at a Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee hearing on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs held July 20th. "People living under Taliban rule are subjected to an extreme interpretation of Islam practiced nowhere else in the world. It is especially repressive toward women," remarked Senator Boxer, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. In her questioning of witness Assistant Secretary of State Karl Inderfurth, Senator Boxer proposed that special refugee status be granted to Afghan women and girls. Inderfurth responded that the State Department would consider her proposal. More aid to Afghan NGOs and refugees and increased involvement of women in the peace process are necessary to safeguarding women's rights, according to Shorish-Shamley. Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), who chaired the hearing, said that the Taliban rule was "suffocating" women and girls in Afghanistan and called upon Congress to take steps to end the atrocities in Afghanistan. The witnesses at the hearing also testified that Afghanistan's terrorism and drug trafficking pose threats to global stability, and that multilateral cooperation will be crucial to ensuring a peaceful transition for Afghanistan. Continued pressure on Pakistan, which is suspected of funding the Taliban regime, will be also be critical to restoring women's rights and human rights in Afghanistan.
Media Resources: Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee Hearing- 21 July 2000
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .