The Pakistani parliament will consider and likely approve a bill that would ease overly strict restrictions applied under Islamic law that make it nearly impossible to prove a woman has been raped. Under the Hadood Ordinance, developed by the former dictator Gen. Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq in 1979, rape victims are convicted of adultery unless they have four male witnesses, which human rights groups say makes a rape conviction impossible.
The amendment, if passed, will erase that onerous requirement and require instead that anyone who accuses a woman of adultery produce four witnesses, according to . In addition, forced marriage and kidnapping, as well as trafficking women for prostitution, will be more thoroughly addressed. Those convicted of gang-rape will be sentenced to death and it will be a crime to publish the address of a rape victim, reports Reuters.
Mahnaz Rafi, chairwoman of the Pakistani Parliament’s special committee for women's development, said, “This will be a historic change and it will end decades of miseries for women,” reports the Associated Press. Naeem Mizra, director of the non-profit Aurat Foundation, added, “The amendments proposed by the government shatter a myth held for 27 years that Hudood laws are divine laws,” according to Reuters.
Media Resources: All Headline News 8/1/06; Associated Press 8/1/06; Feminist Daily News Wire 7/11/06; Reuters 8/2/06
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .