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What We’re Reading – February 5, 2014
Serious threats to Afghan women remain, and recent news out of Afghanistan is increasingly disturbing. A new law, passed by parliament but awaiting the signature of Afghan president Hamid Karzai, changes Afghanistan's criminal prosecution code to ban relatives of an accused person from testifying against them. Since most violence against women in Afghanistan is within the family, the law will essentially silence female victims of abuse. “Honor killings” by fathers and other males and forced marriages will become nearly impossible to punish. Not only does this reverse progress made after the fall of the Taliban, it poses dangerous and devastating consequences for Afghan women and girls. As troops draw down this year, it’s more important than ever that Americans stay engaged in efforts to support the rights and security of Afghan women.
This week marked World Cancer Day 2014, which is an opportunity to raise awareness about the disease and look at global access to screening and treatment. The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation features a video on their website from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) that examines the link between HIV and cervical cancer in Zambia and explains how the Bush Institute’s Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon® initiative is integrating screening into HIV/AIDS care and treatment. Women who have HIV are four to five times more likely to contract cervical cancer. Built on the success of PEPFAR, Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon is a public-private partnership working to save lives and screen women for cervical cancer in Sub-Saharan Africa.
A recent article in Forbes looks at social progress and the unique opportunity for economic growth and prosperity in Myanmar. While the country’s political and economic gains are fragile, the writers point out significant developments and important investments in the country as reasons to remain hopeful for positive improvements. “The development of Myanmar’s economy and civil society, coupled with continued progress in political reforms, will not only result in increased shared prosperity, but will also ensure that more of its young men and women can continue turning their hopes for their country into reality. In a country like Myanmar, full of challenges and opportunities, private social investments provide the opportunities for both international businesses and the many blossoming members of its next generation.”