Candidates Begin Campaigning for Afghanistan's Presidential Elections
Despite threats from the Taliban to disrupt the upcoming elections in Afghanistan, campaigns for the first post-Taliban elections began today. A Taliban spokesman, Abdul Hakimi, stated that Taliban fighters would target all presidential candidates, parliamentary candidates running in April’s parliamentary elections, and anyone who voted, reports Reuter’s. In addition, the Taliban has been making recent efforts to impede the elections process, specifically targeting women. Members of the Taliban have been present at the registration polls and have threatened women as they approach to register.
Eighteen candidates are running for President of Afghanistan, including President Hamid Karzai and only one female candidate, Massooda Jalal. Jalal made a speech to women at a bakery subsidized by the United Nations, asserting that “those people who betrayed you and destroyed your homes and who killed your loves ones…have no place in my government,” reports the Associated Press.
While recent reports show that there are over 10 million people registered to vote in Afghanistan's October presidential elections, it has become evident that the election registration process is Afghanistan is seriously flawed. The United Nations and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission released a report stating that the most basic conditions for a democratic vote in Afghanistan are in danger of not being met, reports BBC News. The report states that this lack of information is making voters vulnerable to intimidation and manipulation, and that there are individuals who are brandishing two or more voting cards.
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. . . .
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. . . .