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Background Information on Afghan Women’s Rights
from Amnesty International USA Local Group 361



    From Albany, Colombia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady Counties of New York State, USA,
we light the rights in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Sources on Afghan Women’s Situation

In January, Amnesty International (AI) asked its members to contact President Obama and Congress to support Afghan women with specific wording in the involved US laws affecting the US transition out of Afghanistan. AI members did contact their elected officials, and we had good news to share. To understand the story, you may begin with the paragraphs below. However, they only begin to share the full, and disturbing, story of Afghan women; thus, we are sharing many more links with you.

    PROGRESS FOR AFGHANISTAN WOMEN: Amnesty International, in 2012, reported ‘‘This generation of Afghan women leaders have finished school, graduated from university and won 27 percent of the seats in parliament in 2010. They have spoken to the international media and appealed to the U.N. Security Council to defend hard-won human rights advances - including a new law prohibiting violence against women, early and forced marriage, and the deprivation of access to property, education or healthcare.’’ See source Referenced on 1/21/13.

    PROBLEM: At this critical moment, Afghan women desperately need us to stand with them to make sure that their rights are not swallowed up by the quicksand of transitional politics.

    ONE STEP: Before January 21, 2013, e-mails from the USA AI organization stated that the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed by the President, now U.S. law, includes the Afghan Women and Girls Security Promotion Act which requires the Department of Defense to report on their efforts to promote the security of Afghan women and girls during the transfer of security responsibility to Afghan forces.

    THANK YOU! We thank everyone who contributed towards securing the needed language in United States law in the 2013, furthering gains for Afghanistan women. Referenced on 2/12/13.Good work! Please be aware that many human rights concerns continue for Afghanistan, as stated in this article. Referenced on 6/18/13.

    THE STORY CONTINUES: To appreciate the serious state of insecurity and denied rights for Afghan women, who have worked for their own gains, please check out the links and facts that follow on this page. They continue to need the world’s support, which means the support of individuals around the world.

Return to TOP OR Continue to Dangerous

Dangerous: A 2011 Thomas Reuters report says Afghanistan, the most dangerous place for women

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REAL WOMEN: GlobalPost three part series reviews the stories of individual women Referenced 6/18/13in Afghanistan, describing the trespasses of Afghan men towards basic human rights for women (one of the stories is Sakina’s) in the Times Union blog written by one of our members. The articles acknowledge the progress of the post-Taliban era, but also point out the continuing difficulties such as the tribal courts’ bias against women, and the threats to the gains with the transfer of authority in 2014.

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WINNER: Women are the winner in the war. See examples of progress. Referenced 6/18/13 dated 9/12/11

    The congressional Afghan Women’s Task Force - co-chaired by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md. -- wants to make sure that women ‘‘play a meaningful role in the Afghan Peace and Reintegration Plan.’’ It’ s not just about preserving women’ s rights, said Rodgers. Preserving those rights is a way to fight terrorism.

    Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., who is also on the task force, said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will play a leading role when it comes to keeping the faith with Afghan women. Clinton has made it a personal cause, declaring it essential ‘ ‘ that women’ s rights and women’ s opportunities are not sacrificed or trampled on in the reconciliation process.’’

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The Plight of the Afghan Woman Referenced 6/18/13 Afghan Online on Afghan women includes these statements.

    ‘‘Over 1400 years ago, Islam demanded that men and women be equal before God, and gave them various rights such the right to inheritance, the right to vote, the right to work, and even choose their own partners in marriage. For centuries now in Afghanistan, women have been denied these rights either by official government decree or by their own husbands, fathers, and brothers.’’

    ‘‘During the rule of the Taliban (1996- 2001), women were treated worse than in any other time or by any other society.’’

    ‘‘Since the fall of the Taliban in late 2001, many would agree that the political and cultural position of Afghan women has improved substantially.’’ [Laws have been written to protect women].

    Women have returned to work, they can be free of the bruqa if they choose, , and they even have been appointed to prominent positions in the government. But, they still are forced into marriages or ba’ad. Especially in rural areas they are ‘‘denied a basic education.’’ ‘‘Numerous school for girls have been burned down and little girls have even been poisoned to death for daring to go to school.’’

    by Abdullah Qazi

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Consider these stats from Afghan Online: Equality Fades Referenced 6/18/13

  • Every 30 minutes, an Afghan woman dies during childbirth

  • 87 percent of Afghan women are illiterate

  • 30 percent of girls have access to education in Afghanistan

  • 1 in every 3 Afghan women experience physical, psychological or sexual violence

  • 44 years is the average life expectancy (ALE) rate for women in Afghanistan [M’s note - the life expectancy of men is similar, perhaps a year less. ]
  • 70 to 80 percent of women face forced marriages in Afghanistan

    Source: Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), a project the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. IRIN is UN humanitarian news and information service, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. [M’s NOTE: Entry seems to reflect 2004 or so situation - have the stats improved much today?]

Return to TOP OR Continue to link to UN Report on Harmful Traditions and EVAWA.

Harmful Traditional Practices and Implementation of the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan by United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA); United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)Referenced 6/18/13

    Released December 9, 2010

    Executive Summary includes these statements:

    ‘‘Widespread harmful traditional practices - child marriage, giving away girls for dispute resolution, forced isolation in the home, exchange marriage and ‘honour’ killings - cause suffering, humiliation and marginalization for millions of Afghan women and girls.‘’‘

    ‘‘In most cases, however, these practices are inconsistent with Sharia law as well as Afghan and international law,’’

    ‘‘need to expedite implementation of the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW law) which criminalizes many harmful traditional practices.’’ Click here to download complete report in PDF format.

Return to TOP OR Look at UDHR RIGHTS Taken

Look at UDHR RIGHTS Taken from These Afghan Women

Taking a look at specific rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, you can see the rights that these women should have. The full UDHR and its 30 articles of rights can be found from here.Referenced 6/18/13

Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person

Article 7. All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 13. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state Article 16. (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

Article 21.

    (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

    (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

Article 23. (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

Article 25. (1) Everyone has the right to ...medical care.

Perhaps you can add more rights from the UDHR that men have kept from the Afghan women?

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Page content updated Saturday, January 4, 2013