Investigators sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo reported more than 150 cases of pedophilia, rape and soliciting prostitutes by United Nations officials and peacekeepers. The Washington Post reports that a confidential UN report describes the sexual exploitation as “significant, widespread, and ongoing.” According to the LA Times, some of the cases involved the use of pictures and videos.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan responded to the findings, stating, “I am afraid there is clear evidence that acts of gross misconduct have taken place. This is a shameful thing for the United Nations to have to say, and I am absolutely outraged by it,” reports the LA Times. Earlier this year, the UN Special Representative to Congo announced that the UN would start an investigation of reports that Tunisian and Uruguayan peacekeepers would give young girls aged 12 to 15 food for sex at a refugee town in Congo.
Jean-Marie Guehenno, the UN’s top peacekeeping official, has said that the UN would consider lifting the immunity of offending UN peacekeepers so that they may face prosecution, according to the Washington Post. However, other UN officials have stated that the UN has no such authority over foreign troops.
In previous years, UN peacekeepers have been linked to sex abuse in East Timor, Cambodia, Bosnia, and Kosovo, reports the Associated Press.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .