United Nations Official Accuses Iran of Women's Rights Abuses
A United Nations human rights investigator accused Iran of sentencing women to death based on flimsy evidence and called on the Iranian government to abolish the death penalty. Yakin Erturk, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, asserts that “discriminatory laws and malfunction in the administration of justice result in impunity for perpetrators and perpetuate discrimination and violence against women,” reports Reuters.
Erturk found that Iranian women face psychological, sexual and physical violence in the home, but there are no laws to protect women. Women who have been raped face the punishment of adultery if they cannot prove that the rape happened. In addition, women who kill their rapist in self-defense are sentenced to death. Earlier this week the Iranian Nobel Peace Prize for Human Rights winner Shirin Ebadi said that “women in Iran are terrorized,” pointing to discriminatory laws such as a woman’s testimony being worth only half of a man’s, according to Voice of America.
Iran’s newly elected parliament has been imposing more restrictions on women’s rights and is denying efforts for gender equality and women’s inheritance rights. Two women were recently sentenced to death for so-called "crimes against morality.”
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. . . .