home what'snew resources ask amy news activism antiviolence events marketplace aboutus

Spotlight on: Women in Afghanistan: Demanding Their Rights and Restoring Democracy
Back to main Spotlight page

Since September 11, the treatment of women under the Taliban has been widely publicized. The Taliban's war on women meant that women were totally excluded from participation, and even visibility, in society. Under Taliban rule, women were forbidden from leaving the home unless accompanied by a male relative. They were refused access to education and employment. Forced to wear the burqa, a head-to-toe covering with only a mesh-covered slit for the eyes, they were beaten, or worse, for any perceived lack of humility - such as clicking heels too loudly on the pavement or accidentally exposing an ankle while walking.
The recent defeat of the Taliban provides an opportunity for Afghan women to take back some of the rights that have been denied to them. However, this will not happen automatically. Though the interim government has taken steps to promote the rights of girls and women, for example, by establishing the Ministry for Women's Affairs, we must ensure that the new government respects the basic human rights of all girls and women. Women and girls must be involved in all stages of reconstruction of Afghanistan and their human rights must be non negotiable.

On December 4 and 5 in Brussels, at the request of Afghan women for solidarity and support, five international women's organizations - Equality Now, V-Day, the Center for Strategic Initiatives of Women, the European Women's Lobby, and The Feminist Majority - convened the Afghan Women's Summit for Democracy. Forty Afghan women leaders from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, the Central Asian Republics, Russia, Europe, the United States and Canada gathered at this historic meeting to discuss the future of their country and the role of women in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. The Summit was the largest global gathering of Afghan women leaders to focus on the role of women in post-Taliban Afghanistan.
At the close of the Afghan Women's Summit, the Afghan women delegates adopted The Brussels Proclamation, a blueprint that outlines in detail their comprehensive vision for the future and specifies immediate reconstruction needs. The Proclamation represents an historic expression of their long held dreams and aspirations, together with a list of concrete demands in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. One of these demands is for:

· Making all support, including monetary, from the international community conditional on the rights and treatment of women

The complete text of the Brussels Proclamation can be found on www.equalitynow.org
In January 2002, donor nations pledged $4.5 billion in aid for the reconstruction of Afghanistan over the next two years, with the U.S. pledging $297 million for reconstruction efforts.

The international community can support the call of Afghan women by campaigning to ensure that the funds allocated by the international community for the reconstruction of Afghanistan are conditioned on the full participation of women. The US Government, as one of the largest donor governments, should sign on to this demand. Please write to Secretary of State Colin Powell and ask him to support the women and girls of Afghanistan by making non-humanitarian aid to Afghanistan conditional on the basic human rights of girls and women.

Please write to Secretary of State Powell at:

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
U.S. Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520
Fax: 202-261-8577
Send an e-mail to the Secretary of State

Back to main Spotlight page


home | what's new | resources | ask amy | news | activism | anti-violence
events | marketplace | about us | e-mail us | join our mailing list

©1995-2005 Feminist.com All rights reserved.