Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, April 24, 2006


Not one woman nominated to Supreme Court
April 24, 2006
New York and Cambridge, Mass. –

Last month, Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced his nominations for his cabinet and the Supreme Court. This was the first time that his nominations would be scrutinized by Parliament; last Thursday, the Parliament approved 20 of the 25 candidates for his cabinet, reports Christian Science Monitor.

Approval hearings are a supposed to be the beginning of a more democratic Afghanistan. However, Karzai failed to elect a single woman to the Supreme Court. Furthermore, he dropped all three female ministers from the last cabinet and nominated only one woman to the new cabinet, who was later rejected Thursday.

An aide to Karzai said women had won their place in parliament and provincial councils and no longer needed special appointments to the council. Sidelining qualified female candidates from the highest positions in government and the courts is discriminatory and fundamentally undemocratic, says CSMonitor, adding that, by excluding 50 percent of the population from decision making positions, Afghanistan is undermining its ability to capitalize on the full potential of its society. The role of women in government is actually regressing now. Click here for more information.

Maternal Death Rates Still High
April 20, 2006
Kabul –

Afghanistan is second in the world for the number of women who die in childbirth. 600 infants and 50 mothers die on an average day. AP reported that Karzai has called this his nation’s “great tragedy.”

Child mortality is also a big problem. 135 children die out of every 1,000.

“Our country is rebuilding itself with the help of the international community after almost three decades of conflict, war and infighting, and in every sector we have problems and challenges, particularly health,” said Dr. Abdul Salam, director of Indira Gandhi Hospital.

Most births are not attended by trained medical staffers. Many women will remain in their village, even during complications. And because most women are illiterate, pediatrician Dr. Hamid Mazin, says it poses a problem in which women do not know how to care for their children.

The goal of the Health Ministry is to train 12,000 health workers and 6,000 midwives by 2010. Click here to read more.

The Beauty Academy of Kabul
April 23, 2006

Detroit Free Press reported yesterday on the film “The Beauty Academy of Kabul,” which played in Detroit Sunday and Monday after it appeared at the Detroit Docs Film Festival.

Filmmaker Liz Mermin ("On Hostile Ground") was first attracted to the story because of its obvious clash of cultures. The movie documents the stories of the first graduating class of the beauty academy; students risked arrest by simply operating secret beauty parlors under the Taliban. There are interviews with the women, which focus on their desire to marry men they love and to someday become entrepreneurs. Click here to read more.

‘Progress in Afghanistan,’ says Defense Secretary
April 24, 2006
Ministry of Defense –

The Government News Network reports on the Secretary of State for Defense, John Reids and his current trip in Afghanistan. He has stated that “real and exciting progress has been made in Kabul.”

He visited the Officer Cadet School to talk to UK trainers. “The future of the country is in the hands of these young Afghans and I am proud of the UK's funding and support of these crucial projects,” he said.

Among other statistics, the report cites economic growth: “From a very low base after 2001, growth of 29% in 2002, 16% in 2003 and 8% in 2004.” Click here for the full story and more facts.

Leaving Islam is not Apostasy
April 2, 2006

M. Cherif Bassiouni of the Chicago Tribune gave evidence on why it is wrong to punish people for leaving Islam.

The Koran refers to religious conversions in the following passage: "And whoever of you turns [away] from his religion [Islam] and dies disbelieving, their works have failed in this world and the next [world]. Those are the inhabitants of fire: therein they shall dwell forever." Surat (chapter) Al-Ma'eda, verse 35. This verse does not criminalize the turning away from Islam, nor does it establish a penalty, Bassiouni argues.

The Koran is the last of God's divine revelations and it is specifically stated therein that Islam is the continuation of Judaism and Christianity. "We believe in God, and in that which has been bestowed from on high upon us, and that which has been bestowed upon Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and their descendants, and that which has been vouchsafed to Moses and Jesus; and that which has been vouchsafed to all the [other] prophets by their Sustainer: we make no distinction between any of them. And it is unto Him that we surrender ourselves." Surat Al-Baqarah, verse 136.

Bassiouni says Muslim scholars must respond to the negative press Islam is receiving and make a point to denounce foul actions in the name of Islam. Click here for the full story.


Post a Comment

<< Home