Sri Lankan Domestic Worker Executed in Saudi Arabia
A Sri Lankan domestic worker who was convicted of killing an infant in her care was executed by the Saudi Arabian government on Wednesday.
Rizana Nafeek was sentenced to death in 2007 for allegedly murdering a 4 month old infant in 2005 that had been in her care for two weeks. Nafeek initially confessed to the crime, but later recanted her statement saying that she was under duress at the time and did not have adequate translation assistance to understand what was happening.
The Sri Lankan government and multiple human rights organizations have condemned the execution as a violation of international law. When Rizana entered Saudi Arabia in 2005, she was provided a falsified passport by a recruitment agency that said she was 23 years old when in fact she was only 17 at the time, making her too young to be executed according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (ratified by Saudi Arabia).
Amnesty International's Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme, said "Despite a chorus of pleas for Saudi Arabian authorities to step in and reconsider Rizana Nafeek's death sentence, they went ahead and executed her anyway, proving once more how woefully out of step they are with their international obligations regarding the use of the death penalty."
Nafeek's death is also sparking international discussion on the rights of domestic workers. According to the International Business Times, only 10% of the over 52 million domestic workers globally have protection under labor laws that protect other workers.
Media Resources: CNN 1/10/2013; Amnesty International 1/9/2013; International Business Times 1/9/2013
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
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. . . .