At the Fourth Annual World Water Forum, held this past week in Mexico City, the Women's Caucus called on the conference attendees to uphold women's human right to water by including women in decisions related to water usage and sanitation and by taking gender issues into consideration when making policy. They cited the United Nations General Comment 15 to the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which says that "The human right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity. It is a prerequisite for the realization of other human rights." The Women's Caucus proposed many recommendations for action, including: recognizing women as full partners in water and sanitation efforts; recognizing intentional contamination or withholding of water as a crime against humanity; developing gender equity policies for institutions that deal with water; and creating gender-sensitive and gender-balanced responses to water crises.
The UN Secretary General Message on World Water Day (March 22) echoed the importance of including women in water policy, as "In many cultures, including indigenous societies, women are the guardians of water. They are the ones who often spend long, arduous hours searching for and carrying water. They need to be able to participate more meaningfully in decision-making on how water is used and managed, so that their countries can make full use of their knowledge, skills and contributions."
Other activists at the World Water Forum protested the privatization of water resources and distribution and called on attendees to amend international law to recognize a right to water and to allow the UN to police violations in order to prevent the estimated three million deaths from contaminated water each year reports OneWorld US. While the right to water has been acknowledged in various covenants and UN resolutions, the US and other influential nations have not upheld the documents.
Media Resources: OneWorld US 3/21/06; Women’s Caucus Declaration, 3/18/06; UN Secretary-General Statement 3/22/06
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. . . .