WASHINGTON — Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was honored Wednesday by a prominent human rights group for her efforts to spotlight and combat the repression of women in Afghanistan.
Feinstein is a leader in the effort "to assure we in the U.S. are doing all we can to bring an end to the oppression," said Len Rubenstein, director of the Boston-based Physicians for Human Rights, which sponsored Wednesday's luncheon.
Afghan women have suffered since the Taliban, an ultraconservative Islamic group, swept to power in the country in 1996.
The group's edicts have banished women from the work force, closed schools for girls and forced women to be covered from head to toe in a religious shroud called a burqa. Women who disobey these and other rules are subject to beatings or imprisonment.
The luncheon's keynote speaker, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, called the "iron rule" of the Taliban "the clearest violation of women's rights anywhere in the world."
Feinstein was co-author of a Senate resolution last May condemning the country's cruel treatment of women. She and her staff are exploring legislative approaches to the problem.
"Shedding the light on practices is often the way to bring about more change," Feinstein said.
"We'll continue" to press the case of Afghan women, she added, "and one day we'll prevail."