News / Asia

Activists Urge NATO to Protect Afghan Women's Rights

Afghan women walk in front of a bakery in Kabul, AfghanistanAfghan women walk in front of a bakery in Kabul, Afghanistan
x
Afghan women walk in front of a bakery in Kabul, Afghanistan
Afghan women walk in front of a bakery in Kabul, Afghanistan
Aru Pande

CHICAGO - As world leaders gather in Chicago to discuss the future of Afghanistan, human rights groups say Afghan women are being left out of the conversation. Afghan activists say they fear gains made in women's rights since the fall of the Taliban will be erased after foreign troops leave the war-torn country.

 

Like so many Afghans, Manizha Naderi has concerns about the fate of her country after 2014, when international forces complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan after more than a decade of war.

 

Activists Urge NATO to Protect Afghan Women's Rightsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Aru Pande
May 21, 2012 4:22 AM
As world leaders gather to discuss the future of Afghanistan, human rights groups say Afghan women are being left out of the conversation. Aru Pande talks to Afghan activists who fear that gains made in women's rights since the fall of the Taliban will be erased once foreign troops leave the war-torn country.
Watch the Video

"The whole country could fall apart; civil war could ensue.  Everything that we have gained in 10 years can be undone if [the] U.S. and NATO leave too fast or too abruptly," she said. 

 

Women in Afghanistan have gained numerous rights since the Taliban-led government was ousted in 2001.  Under Taliban rule, women were not allowed to work, receive an education or leave their homes unless they were escorted by a man.

 

A great deal has changed since then.  Afifa Azim is co-founder of the Afghan Women’s Network, an umbrella group of nearly 100 non-governmental organizations.

 

"After they removed [the] Taliban from power, with the support of the international community and NATO, women started to work.  Girls returned to school, women worked at public spaces and in the government bodies," she said. 

 

But Afghan and international human rights activists worry that this progress will be quickly erased once foreign troops leave.  Activists say women are being excluded as NATO leaders meet to discuss the security transition and the future of Afghanistan.

 

Activist Manizha Naderi said, “Women comprise 50 percent of [the] population, and they have not been consulted in any of this, not the transition, not reconstruction, not the negotiations.  They haven’t been consulted at all.” 

 

On the sidelines of the NATO summit in Chicago, the human rights monitoring group Amnesty International issued an open letter, urging U.S. President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai to keep their promise to safeguard women’s rights and freedoms.

 

The letter, signed by dignitaries, including former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, lays out steps to protect Afghan women's rights.

 

Frank Jannuzi is Deputy Executive Director of Amnesty International’s Washington office. "Afghan women [should be] participating in both the national and the local level in the peace process - in the planning, in the negotiations and the execution.  We would like to see a trust fund established to ensure that Afghan women and also civil society will be supported in the years ahead," he said. 

 

Participants here at this “shadow summit” for women say history has shown that societies with empowered, educated and engaged women enjoy peace, prosperity and good governance.

 

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said, “We have to figure out why, and to persuade everybody that having women’s rights and women being on various groups is the best way to ensure a better life for everybody, not just for women, but for everybody.” 

 

With 3 million girls in school and roughly a third of parliamentary seats held by women in Afghanistan, Amnesty International and other groups want to see women make up 30 percent of the negotiating teams involved in peace talks to end the Afghan war. 

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid