Afghan Women Still Face Extreme Violence, Reports UN Expert
United Nations expert Yakin Erturk said that violence against women in Afghanistan is commonplace, pointing to forced and child marriages as the primary cause of violence. Erturk, the Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on Violence Against Women, highlighted poverty, lack of education, and years of warfare as the major causes of women’s current plight in Afghanistan.
Ertürk has just finished a ten-day visit to Afghanistan, where she met with government officials, judiciary members, doctors, police officers, representatives of non-governmental organizations, and women in prison to assess Afghan women’s current circumstances. Afghan women have little protection from abusive situations and few options for redress. The UN expert urged the Afghanistan government and the international community to make the eradication of violence against Afghan women a priority.
The Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs estimates that approximately 60 percent of Afghan marriages include women under 16 years old, the legal marriage age for women, according to IRIN News. Child marriage affects millions of women in developing countries and puts women at risk of contracting health problems, such as obstetric fistula, from becoming pregnant at an early age. Masouda Jalal, the Afghan Minister of Women’s Affairs, called child marriage “a violation of equality” and harmful to girl’s health, their educational and economic opportunities and political participation,” reports IRIN News.
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defundÂ Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).Â Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell asÂ out of order.
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7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .