The health and lives of millions of people across the globe are being threatened by government failures to guarantee their sexual and reproductive rights, Amnesty International said today as it launched a global campaign on this issue.
“It is unbelievable that in the twenty-first century some countries are condoning child marriage and marital rape while others are outlawing abortion, sex outside marriage and same-sex sexual activity – even punishable by death,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.
“States need to take positive action – not just by getting rid of oppressive laws but also promoting and protecting sexual and reproductive rights, providing information, education, services and ending impunity for sexual violence.”
Amnesty International’s new campaign My Body My Rights is about people being empowered to enjoy their sexuality.
A year and a half after President Barack Obama issued an executive order outlawing human trafficking and forced labor on U.S. military bases, a five-month investigation by “Fault Lines” has found compelling evidence that these abuses remain pervasive at U.S. facilities in Afghanistan.
“Fault Lines” traveled to India, the United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan to trace the journey of a typical migrant worker seeking a job at a U.S. military base. We found Department of Defense subcontractors and their recruiters colluding to profit directly from exorbitant fees charged to job candidates, who are sometimes left with no choice but to work for six to 12 months to recoup those costs.
Over the past decade, the U.S. military has outsourced its overseas base-support responsibilities to private contractors, which have filled the lowest-paying jobs on military bases with third-country nationals, migrant workers who are neither U.S. citizens nor locals. As of January 2014, there were 37,182 third-country nationals working on bases in the U.S. Central Command region, which includes Afghanistan and Iraq — outnumbering both American and local contract workers.
"Racism and sexism are intertwinded and must be fought together. Always." -Gloria Steinem
Public school teachers in Portland, Ore., and their students are doing a victory lap. Nearly a year after unveiling a contract proposal that would have put the squeeze on the 2,900-member Portland Association of Teachers (PAT), the Portland School Board on March 3 approved a contract that acceded to virtually every demand from the teachers’ union.
The board was acting as a stalking horse for corporate attacks on unions and public education nationwide. It initially wanted to saddle teachers with higher health care costs, fewer retirement benefits, more students and a greater workload in a city where 40 percent of teachers already work more than 50 hours a week(PDF). The board also demanded expansive management rights (PDF) and allegedly wished to link teacher evaluation more closely to standardized testing. The PAT opposed the board, arguing that low-income and minority students would pay the heaviest price as their classes grew larger, more time was devoted to testing and resources for curriculum preparation and teacher development got slashed.
(Photo: Stephanie Yao Long/The Oregonian/Landov)
President Hamid Karzai’s government has let down Afghan women, according to the new EU ambassador to Kabul, who singled out the failure to end prosecution of rape victims and other abused women for “moral crimes” as a particular “disgrace”.
Franz-Michael Mellbin said that despite huge practical improvements in areas from maternal mortality to the number of girls in schools, Afghanistan was still one of the worst places to be a woman and a frontline in the global battle for women’s rights. Read more
Photograph: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
A report from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey conducted by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, found that transgender people faced double the rate of unemployment of the general population, with 63 percent of the transgender people surveyed reporting they experienced a serious act of discrimination that majorly affected their ability to sustain themselves. These numbers are even worse for trans people of color, especially trans women of color, the deaths of whom have been deemed a “state of emergency.”
Trans women have been saddled with the responsibility of taking on trans-exclusionary feminists for far too long—but it’s not their issue to deal with alone.
Read: It’s Time to End the Long History of Feminism Failing Transgender Women by Tina Vasquez at BitchMedia.org. Type illustrations by Michelle Leigh.
The nonprofit advocacy group Amnesty International launched a global campaign “My Body My Rights” on Thursday, in response to what it says is the growing number of laws around the world criminalizing people’s sex lives and restricting women’s control over their bodies.
The two-year campaign seeks to “stop the control and criminalization of sexuality and reproduction by governments and others” by urging leaders to stop using the law to discriminate against women and sexual minorities, remove obstacles to sexual and reproductive health services and empower those affected to advocate for their rights.
“One of the things that we’ve seen is that so many rights violations are rooted in the ability to control one’s body — whether that be when and if to get married, decide when and if to have sex, accessing public services, accessing health services, but also accessing other services that are related to the body,” said Tarah Demant, the co-chair of the organizations Woman’s Human Rights Coordination Group.
(Photo: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters)
In the year before Obama took office, there were only 149 organized hate groups on record. Although the total number dropped from 1,007 in 2012 to 939 in 2013, that still constitutes an explosive increase of 630%. Black separatists do comprise a small part of this list, of course, but the rest includes a range of white supremacists (the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, White Nationalists, Racist Skinheads, Neo-Confederates) and Christian Identity movements. It should be noted that there is a heavy concentration of these groups below the Mason-Dixon Line, although California technically has more than any other state.
Two more reproductive health clinics in Texas have closed, as the state comes closer to shuttering all but the six legal abortion providers that can comply with its new omnibus anti-abortion law, HB 2.
The two clinics, in southeast Texas and in the Rio Grande Valley, were both part of the Whole Woman’s Health organization. Now, the thousands of patients they saw each year will be forced either to carry their unplanned pregnancies to term, travel hundreds of miles for legal abortions, or take matters into their own hands.
Senior political reporter Andrea Grimes traveled to McAllen’s Whole Woman’s clinic, one of the last abortion clinics in the Rio Grande Valley, for a candlelight vigil marking the closure of a building where Texans have gone for safe, legal abortion care since Roe v. Wade.
Five white men serve on a panel discussing diversity at CPAC, a conservative political conference. Photograph and tweet by Oliver Willis, tip courtesy of @DrJaneChi.
If there’s one thing white guys know about, it’s explaining the lived everyday experiences of oppression to people of color. Who knows more about supporting the policies and institutions that maintain white supremacy than five white conservatives?