At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on Afghanistan on Wednesday, several witnesses asserted that security is the main concern in Afghanistan. Mark Schneider of the International Crisis Group stated that efforts in Afghanistan “may fail because the administration has been unwilling to recognize the magnitude of threats which we face and to direct sufficient political, military, and financial resources to overcome them.”
Schneider urged an expansion of international security assistance forces (ISAF) in Afghanistan, stating that the expansion of “NATO/ISAF remains the lynchpin to greater progress on peace, political transformation, relief, and reconstruction.” According to Robert Perito of the United States Institute for Peace, “Warlords and militia commanders are a major source of insecurity and a threat to the central government … US military support for ‘regional influentials’ is in conflict with our overall policy of promoting national unity and a strong, democratic, central government.”
Only 20 percent of the 10.5 million eligible Afghan voters are currently registered, of which 30 percent are women. Poor security has not only delayed voter registration, but the Afghan election itself. The first post-Taliban elections that were to take place in June were postponed until September due to the lack of security. Despite the dire security situation in Afghanistan, peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan remain a small contingent of some 6,000 soldiers.
The Feminist Majority and other leading women’s rights and human rights advocates argue that without security, women in Afghanistan will never be able to obtain their rights and the country will never have sustained peace and democracy.
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. . . .