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Letter from RAWA

Dear supporters,

By now you are aware of the terrible miseries of newly arrived Afghan refugees in Peshawar. According to Yusuf Hassan, UNHCR's senior regional external affairs officer for the southwest and central Asian region: "Jallozai is a makeshift site. It is an open place. People are exposed to the freezing weather. There is no proper shelter, no sanitation or (clean) water facilities."

Cold, disease, and malnutrition have killed several children at the camp and some refugees have been reduced to eating grass. After the U.S. strikes, hundreds of thousands of more refugees came to Pakistan. We are witnessing this, but can do nothing tangible.

We appeal for your urgent help.

* If you get somebody or some interested NGOs/institutions to help in an urgent way, please do it without delay.

* RAWA distributes medicines, food and quilts/blankets among them. Your urgent donations can save life of many ill-fated children.

* Kindly send your donations in cash or a check payable to “SEE/Afghan Women's Mission” to the following address and inform us through email: Donation for Refugees/ The Afghan Women's Mission/ 260 S. Lake Avenue/ PMB 165/ Pasadena, CA 91101/ USA. Donations are tax deductable to the extent of the law. Kindly inform us by emailing when you are sending donations.


Stop Unjust Justices

To date, the Bush administration has sent 90 nominations to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Senate has already confirmed 30 of them (24 trial level, and six appellate level). The Judiciary Committee has held 12 hearings on judicial nominees since July, while during the Clinton years the Republican-dominated committee held barely half a dozen hearings per year. These lower-court positions play a vital role in the judicial process because a vast majority of cases never make it to the Supreme Court.

Cases that are decided by the Supreme Court face another threat. We find ourselves in the longest interval between Supreme Court vacancies in 178 years. When a position opens, Bush will surely attempt to fill it with someone from his stable of right-wing judicial ideologues. Considering that two out of three Supreme Court decisions in the last term were decided by 5-4 votes, all of our fundamental rights — reproductive rights, civil rights, lesbian rights, disability rights and so many other gains feminists have fought for in the past 35 years — could be at risk with the addition of just one new ultra-conservative Supreme Court justice.

There is a ray of hope: With Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy chairing the judiciary committee, we have the political opportunity to stop at least some of the most egregious nominations from going forward.

Go to NOW’s convenient action alert web page to send a message to your Senators telling them you will watch their votes on judicial appointments, and that you will remember in November if they confirm a justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Washington State

Fight the trafficking of women and children

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Sen. Jeralita Costa, and Rep. Velma Veloria are sponsoring bills that deal with trafficking of women and children and mail-order brides. They are part of the follow-up to the successful conference Rep. Veloria organized last November in Seattle.

The Mail Order Bride Bill (SB 6412) would regulate the mail-order bride industry while the Trafficking Persons Bill (SB 6407/HB 2381) declares that Washington state needs to provide a coordinated, humane response for victims of human trafficking through a review of existing programs and clarification of existing options for such victims.

What can you do? Call or email your legislative representatives urging them to promote HB2381 in the House, and SB 6407 and SB 6412 in the Senate. Don't know who your your legislators are? Go to:

Alarmingly, the legislators who introduced this bill have been inundated with hate mail. See Susan Paynter's February 11 column in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "Mail-order bride bill spurs plenty of angry mail"

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