Afghan Legislator Calls for Enforcement of Chaperones for Women
Afghan women would be forbidden to travel without a male chaperone if a male member of the Afghan parliament has his way. Al-Haji Abdul Jabbar Shalgarai called the participation of two women members of parliament in a major donor’s conference “un-Islamic” and a violation of the law because they traveled without their husbands, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Shalgarai cited sharia law, which allows women to travel for more than three days only if they are accompanied by a male relative.
Shalgarai invoked the protection of women as the purpose for requiring male chaperones, saying, “If someone else’s woman is sitting in the same row of seats as you, well, human beings have different drives, including sexual drives. Sometimes these cannot be controlled...,” reported the Christian Science Monitor.
Although women’s rights are guaranteed in the Afghan Constitution, there is a constitutional provision stating that “no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam.” The Feminist Majority and other women’s rights and human rights advocates raised concerns about this provision and other language that leaves issues not addressed in the constitution or by law to adjudication by religious laws.
“Women’s rights in Afghanistan are still fragile,” said Norma Gattsek, deputy policy director at the Feminist Majority. “They remain vulnerable to the same extremist Taliban-like interpretations of religion which were used to take away all of their rights.”
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .