Iraqi women are no better off now than they were under the rule of former dictator Saddam Hussein according to a report released on Monday by Amnesty International. Nearly two years after the US-led invasion of Iraq, the report, “'Iraq: Decades of Suffering," asserts that although the brutal oppression of women under Hussein has ended, there has been an increase in murder and sexual abuse.
While President Bush promised a democratic Iraq free of oppression, the report contends that postwar insecurity has continued to leave women at risk of violence and without freedoms, reports Reuters. “Since the 2003 war,” the report states, “women’s rights activists and political leaders have been threatened by armed groups and a number have been killed… Gender discrimination in Iraqi laws contributes to the persistence of violence against women.” Amnesty International also charges that Iraqi women have been at risk of abuse by US led forces. The report states that several women detainees have “reported beatings, threats of rape, humiliating treatment and long periods of solitary confinement” after their release from detention. Amnesty International, joined by women’s rights organizations, has stressed the need for US-led multinational forces to improve safeguards for women in detention, and to investigate the alleged abuses.
In a press release on Tuesday, Abdel Salam Sidahmed, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program said, "Iraqi authorities must introduce concrete measures to protect women… Most importantly, they must ensure that the new constitution and all Iraqi legislation contain prohibitions to redress all forms of discrimination and gender-based violence against women."
Zainab Salbi, Women for Women International’s founder and CEO, said, “History has shown that when women play a role in the formation of new governments, those nations are more stable and more successful in the long run,” according to Salon.com. A recent survey conducted by Women for Women International found that high percentages of Iraqi women look forward to having part in the reconstruction of Iraq, reports Salon.com.
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. . . .