In a matter of one week in the U.S. and Iran, authorities have made decisions that restrain women's right to control their bodies. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court voted in favor of permitting family companies to deny employees insurance coverage for contraception in the name of religious freedom. Whereas, Iranian MPs ratified a bill last week which in case of becoming a law criminalizes any act that promotes or employs birth control tools and methods.
Over the past four decades, violence against women (VAW) has come to be seen as a violation of human rights and an important concern for social policy. Yet government action remains uneven. Some countries have adopted comprehensive policies to combat VAW, whereas others have been slow to address the problem.
When rape is used as a weapon of war in places like Congo or Bosnia, thousands of women and girls can become pregnant, but a piece of 39-year-old U.S. legislation means that few if any aid groups are allowed to provide or even discuss abortion services with them.
There's a 38 year-old Congolese woman named Josephine who has probably never heard of U.S. Representative and Senatorial candidate Todd Akin. But, if she had, Josephine would know all too well how wrong Akin was when he said that a woman's body can "shut the whole thing down" and prevent a pregnancy if she experiences a "legitimate rape." When Josephine was 29, she, like many of the estimated 1.8 million other women and girls who were raped during the Congo's series of conflicts, became pregnant. Akin's comments will never affect Josephine, so she has little reason to care. But she cares very much about the U.S. legislative efforts to restrict abortion access, because that decades-long campaign, of which Akin is only an example, has changed her life permanently.
Voters in North Carolina have approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage solely as a union between one man and one woman, in a defeat for gay rights advocates. It will become the 30th state in the union to enshrine a ban on same-sex marriage in its state constitution. Same-sex marriage has been illegal in NC for 16 years but can now only be legalised by another vote by the people.
The ninth anniversary of September 11, 2001, finds the international community still grappling with the consequences of that terrible day. Armed conflicts which began in the wake of 9/11 continue in Afghanistan and Iraq, spilling over now into Pakistan and Yemen with often devastating consequences for civilians. Human rights abuses in the “war on terror” remain largely unpunished, but will never be forgotten around the world. Xenophobia directed against Muslims serves as a useful tool for right-wing politicians in the West. And you may have heard that an idiot in Florida has been trying to decide whether or not he will burn hundreds of Qur’ans today.
At the same time, Muslim fundamentalist armed movements akin to those that perpetrated 9/11, like the various permutations of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, or Al Shabab in Somalia or Boko Haram in Nigeria, just to name a few, continue to pose major challenges to human rights in Muslim majority societies and around the world. For a terrifying insight into the worldview of defenders of such movements, see here.
Le 26 avril 2010, l'Académie américaine de pédiatrie (American Academy of Pediatrics, AAP) a rendu public une déclaration de principes intitulée "Les coupures génitales rituelles chez les mineures" (Policy Statement - Ritual Genital Cutting of Female Minors) qui, de fait, appelle à la modification du droit fédéral et national pour "permettre [...] aux pédiatres d'aider les familles en proposant une entaille rituelle" telle qu'une "piqure ou incision de la peau du clitoris pour satisfaire à des obligations rituelles".