Congo Government Fails to Protect Tens of Thousands of Rape Victims
A leading human rights organization issued a report last week documenting how the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has not taken the necessary steps to prosecute the militiamen and renegade soldiers responsible for raping and beating tens of thousands of women and girls in the eastern part of the country. “Sexual violence has shattered tens of thousands of lives in Congo, but fewer than a dozen victims have seen their assailants prosecuted,” said Alison Des Forges, a senior advisor of Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) Africa Division, which released the report.
HRW reported victims as young as three years old. In the town of Bunia, Congo, eight to ten people were reported as being raped each day. HRW found that over the past two years, women started to seek justice from the Congolese judicial system but were confronted with deficiencies in the law and the unwillingness of officials to treat rape as a serious offense.
Earlier this year, cases of girls being sexually abused by UN peacekeepers in the DRC began surfacing. The UN Office of Internal Oversight Services found that UN troops paid women and girls food and money in return for sex.
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. . . .