Afghanistan

Afghanistan: Protect women & girls from violence. Don’t sign new law rolling back women’s rights.

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2014 Feb 11

17 FEBRUARY 2014 UPDATE:  Your voices were heard! Following intense international advocacy, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has reportedly ordered changes to the new proposed legislation that is threatening the safety and rights of Afghan women and girls.

What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << The legislation is with President Hamid Karzai for his signature. Please Take Action today!

1) Urge President Karzai not to sign the new criminal procedure code into law in line with Afghanistan’s international and constitutional commitments to protect women’s rights and ensure equal rights for women under the law.

President Karzai
Presidential Palace
Kabul
Afghanistan
Tel:  +93 (20) 210 2853, +93 (20) 210 3705, +93 (20) 210 3705
Email: president.pressoffice@gmail.com

2)  Sign Women for Afghan Women’s petition to President Obama and Secretary Kerry calling on the United States government to live up to its promise to not abandon Afghan women as it prepares for troop withdrawal.

3) Help spread the word! Share this Alert with your networks and tweet the following message to the President. You can also retweet from @equalitynow.

@ARG_AFG Protect the human rights of Afghan women and girls. Don’t sign the new criminal code into law. #VAW

Letters: 

Dear President Karzai,

I am deeply concerned about the new criminal procedure code, passed by both houses of Parliament, which would erode important legal protections for women and girls. I urge you not to sign it into law.

I understand that Article 26(4) of the new criminal procedure code prevents relatives of the accused assailant who are witnesses to these crimes from testifying in court, even voluntarily. This would effectively provide impunity for those who violate women’s and girls’ rights including those who subject them to domestic violence, forced and/or child marriage, and trafficking.

Afghanistan has ratified both the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child which calls for the equal protection of women and girls, including from gender-based violence. We urge you to comply with your international legal obligations, including by enforcing the 2009 Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women and calling for the revision on the new legislation.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

Afghanistan: Prosecute those responsible for the rape and murder of 16-year-old Shakila Bakhsh

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2013 Nov 25

view as pdf

What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

  • Call on the officials below to ensure that a full and fair investigation is undertaken into the death of Shakila Bakhsh and that the perpetrator/s of her rape and murder are prosecuted without delay.
  • Urge the government of Afghanistan, in accordance with Afghanistan’s own Constitution and its international legal obligations, to ensure that robust systems are put in place to prevent all violence against women and girls and to guarantee that the rule of law prevails in protection of the rights of women and girls.

Letters should go to:

Minister of Interior Affairs Mr. Umar Daudzai
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ministry of Interior Affairs
Kabul
Afghanistan
Tel: +93 202 102 945 +93 202 102 945 +93 202 201 785 +93 202 201 785
Email: af.moi.press@gmail.com, moi.spokesman.mediadirectorate@gmail.com

Minister of Justice Mr. Habibullah Ghalib
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ministry of Justice
Charayee Pashtoonistan,
Foroushgah
Kabul
Afghanistan
Tel:  +93 202 104 336
Email: spksperson@gmail.com

With copy to: President Karzai, Presidential Palace, Kabul, Afghanistan Tel: +93 (20) 210 2853, +93 (20) 210 3705, +93 (20) 210 3705 Email: president.pressoffice@gmail.com

Letters: 

Dear Minister of Interior Affairs/ Minister of Justice:

I am deeply concerned about the rape and murder of 16-year-old Shakila Bakhsh, daughter of Mohammad Bakhsh, in Zargaran, in central Bamyan on 31 January 2012, and the lack of a prosecution in her case.

According to the Bamyan Province Court of Appeal (case number 40, May 21, 2012) documents, Shakila was found dead at the home of Mr. Mohammad Hadi Wahidi Bihishti, a member of Bamyan Provincial Council. At the time of the incident Mr. Bihishti was home with his wife and nephew. Initially Mr. Bihishti’s bodyguard, Mr. Qurban, who is also Shakila’s brother-in-law, was charged with her murder despite eye witness statements which placed him at a local bazaar at the time. Mr. Qurban claimed he was informed about Shakila’s death through a phone call made to him by Mr. Bihishti who told him that Shakila had killed herself.

Court documents state that security forces and the police were not informed by Mr. Bishishti or anyone else about what had happened. Instead, the deceased’s body was taken to hospital. The documents also state that there was an attempt to remove signs of the murder at the house. When police present at the hospital happened to find out about the incident they sent a team to investigate. However, the court documents also highlight a number of failings in the police investigation including the fact that the police neglected to send fingerprints of Mr. Bihishti, his wife or nephew to forensics to be examined. Reportedly family members of Shakila and Mr. Qurban maintain that Mr. Bihishti is responsible for killing Shakila, but due to his influential position in the Bamyan Provincial Council he is not being fully investigated. On 21 May 2012, the Court of Appeal concluded that there was insufficient evidence against Mr. Qurban and ordered a new investigation.

I urge you to please ensure that the case is fully and fairly investigated and the perpetrators prosecuted. I would respectfully urge the government of Afghanistan to ensure the rule of law prevails and that violence against women and girls is prevented and punished to the full extent of the law in accordance with Afghanistan’s own Constitution and international legal obligations.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Afghan government should withdraw proposed bill to take over women’s shelters

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2011 Feb 5
Update Date: 
2011 May 19
Update: 

UPDATE 19 May 2011: Following widespread criticism of government proposals to take over independent women’s shelters in Afghanistan, the draft regulation was reviewed by civil society organizations and the Criminal Law Review Working Group, comprised of experts from the Afghan Government, and national and international organizations including the UN. The new draft allows shelters to be operated by the government as well as by licensed non-governmental organizations. It also includes provisions which clarify the government’s role in the regulation and oversight of protection centers, and establishes a Department of Protection Centers within the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and coordination committees in each province. This draft is currently awaiting approval from the Council of Ministers.
_______

UPDATE 28 February 2011: While the government of Afghanistan has reportedly agreed to discard their plans to take over women’s shelters, our partners in Afghanistan have informed Equality Now that details are not finalized and a number of outstanding questions remain. Please continue to call on the Afghan government to withdraw the proposed Bill and on donor countries to listen to the concerns Afghan women’s rights activists.

Equality Now is deeply concerned about a proposed Bill by the government of Afghanistan that would relegate women’s shelters, currently being operated by several independent women’s organizations, to the management of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA).

What You Can Do: 

Please contact the Afghan officials below calling on them to withdraw the proposed Bill and ensure that Afghan women who need shelter have a safe place to go where they will get the support they need. Ask also that the government of Afghanistan takes strong steps to live up to its Constitutional and international commitments, including under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), to ensure equality for women and access to justice. Please also write to the main donors to Afghanistan asking them to heed the voices of Afghan women in supporting women’s rights in the country.

Letters should be addressed to:

Afghan government

President Hamid Karzai
Gul Khana Palace
Presidential Palace
Kabul, Afghanistan
Email: president@afghanistangov.org (if you get an error message, can also send care of Feroz Mohmand, Executive Assistant to the President Spokesperson feroz.mohmand@live.com.)

Dr Husn Banu Ghazanfar
Minister of Women Affairs
Ministry of Women’s Affairs
Email: info@mowa.gov.af

Professor Habibullah Ghalib
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Kabul, Afghanistan
Email: ab.qayum@hotmail.com
Tel: + 93 20 2100 322

Letters: 

Dear President Karzai/Minister Habibullah Ghalib/ Minister Husn Banu Ghazanfar [delete as appropriate]

I write to you with deep concern regarding news that the Afghan government has proposed a Bill which would pass the running of women’s shelters in Afghanistan, previously managed by women’s organizations, to the Afghan government.  The new draft regulations propose unwarranted government control over the acceptance, regime and release of women seeking the protection of these shelters.  This could dissuade already terrified and vulnerable women from seeking help and so risk their further harm or even death.  I understand that the government may now be reconsidering its position, which would be welcome news, however reports that Afghan women remain subject to extremely high levels of violence and have restricted access to justice are very worrying. 

I was concerned to learn that a joint report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights issued in 2009 states that “Afghan women have repeatedly reported that they have lost faith in the law enforcement and judicial institutions that they consider ineffective, incompetent, dysfunctional and corrupt.  Referring an incident to the police, the national directorate of security (i.e., the intelligence service) or a prosecutor is said to be of no avail; cases are usually not taken seriously, properly recorded or acted upon.  Ultimately, authorities are not willing or are not in a position to provide women at risk with any form of protection to ensure their safety”.  This also underlines the critical need for independently-run shelters to give women the support they need.  

I respectfully urge you to ensure that the plans to take over these shelters are immediately discarded.  Rather, the Afghan government must be encouraged to take strong steps to address the underlying reasons why women and girls in Afghanistan are compelled to go to women’s shelters to seek security and support.  This would include ensuring violence against women is prevented and punished to the full extent of the law and providing women full access to justice in accordance with Afghanistan’s Constitutional and international commitments, including under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Thank you for your attention.

Respectfully yours,

Afghanistan: Peace and Security Undermined—Targeting of Women Leaders

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2008 Dec 1

Malalai JoyaOn 21 May 2007 Malalai Joya, a woman Member of Parliament (MP) and defender of women’s rights, was suspended from the Afghan parliament for strongly criticizing warlord fellow MPs and comparing them in a television interview to being worse than a stable of animals.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the following officials to urge them to ensure that Malalai Joya is immediately and unconditionally reinstated to Parliament. Point out that Parliament is in breach both of its own Rules of Procedure and of Afghanistan’s Constitution which provides for freedom of speech and women’s equality. Ask them also to take all steps to guarantee the personal safety of Malalai Joya, Shukria Barakzai and all others seeking to protect and promote the full equal rights of women as provided by the Constitution.

Sample letter to Afghan officials

President Hamid Karzai
Gul Khana Palace
Presidential Palace
Kabul, Afghanistan
president@afghanistangov.org

Yunus Qanooni, Speaker of the House
Afghanistan National Assembly
Wolesi Jirga
Kabul, Afghanistan

Women's Action 21.1: October 2001
Women's Action 21.2: April 2002
Women's Action 21.3: December 2004
Women's Action 21.4: December 2006
Women's Action 21.5: October 2007

Afghanistan: Peace and Security Undermined: Suspension of Malalai Joya from Parliament

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2007 Oct 1

Malalai JoyaMalalai Joya entered Afghanistan’s new Parliament in September 2005 pledging to “protect the rights of the oppressed and safeguard women’s rights.”  She won the second highest number of votes in Farah province, taking her seat in the Lower House (Wolesi Jirga).  A staunch critic of the warlords and defender of women’s rights, Malalai has consistently been stopped from speaking in Parliament or had speeches cut short, h

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the officials below calling for the reinstatement of Malalai Joya and a full investigation into the way she was excluded from representing her constituency and participating in parliamentary proceedings.  Remind them of the provisions of the Afghan Constitution that guarantee freedom of speech and women’s equality.  Insist that the right of Malalai Joya and all other Members of Parliament to peacefully express their views be protected and that procedures be put in place to prevent the suppression of free speech and democracy.  Call on these officials to ensure the personal safety of Malalai and all others seeking to protect and promote their full equal rights under the Constitution.

President Hamid Karzai
Gul Khana Palace
Presidential Palace
Kabul, Afghanistan
president@afghanistangov.org

Chief Justice Abdul Salam Azimi
Afghan Supreme Court
Charai Seahat Hama
Microyana
Kabul, Afghanistan

Yunus Qanooni, Speaker of the House
Afghanistan National Assembly
Wolesi Jirga
Kabul, Afghanistan

Please send copies of your letters to: 

Dr. Husn Banu Ghazanfar
Minister of Women’s Affairs
Ministry of Women’s Affairs
Shar-e-naw
Kabul, Afghanistan

Afghanistan: Access to Justice for Afghan Women—A New Chief Justice

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2006 Dec 1

In December 2004 Equality Now issued Women’s Action 21.3 to highlight issues affecting Afghan women’s access to justice.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to Chief Justice Azimi congratulating him on his appointment as Chief Justice, and urging him, together with the other Supreme Court judges, to take a leadership role in promoting and protecting the rights of women in accordance with Afghanistan’s Constitution and the international human rights standards, including CEDAW, to which Afghanistan is a party.  Reinforce the critical role they can play in enforcing equal protection of the law for women and sending a strong signal that violence against women in Afghanistan will not be tolerated.  Letters should be addressed to:

Chief Justice Abdul Salam Azimi
Afghan Supreme Court
Charai Seahat Hama
Microyana
Kabul, Afghanistan

with a copy to: 

Mr. Ghulam Sarwar Danish
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Pashtunistan Watt
Kabul, Afghanistan
Email: info@moj.gov.af  

Afghanistan: Access to Justice for Afghan Women

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2004 Dec 1

Afghan womenThree years since the formal end of the war and the removal of the Taliban from power, the situation in Afghanistan continues to threaten the safety, security, and human rights of Afghan citizens, particularly Afghan women.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to President Karzai and call on him to replace Chief Justice Shinwari, together with all other judges who are not prepared to uphold the provisions of Afghanistan’s Constitution and international law that provide for equality between men and women and prohibit all forms of discrimination. Urge President Karzai to appoint a new Chief Justice and ensure the appointment of Supreme Court judges who will uphold all the provisions of Afghanistan’s Constitution, including its prohibition of discrimination against women. Please send a copy of your letter to the Afghan Ambassador to your country.

President Hamid Karzai
The Palace
Protocol Office
Kabul
Afghanistan

Afghanistan: Peace, Security and the Role of Women

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2002 Apr 1

Several months after the overthrow of the Taliban, Afghan women are still unsafe in their own country. Large parts of Afghanistan are controlled by local warlords, competing for power and taking revenge for past injustices committed by the largely Pashtun Taliban. Women, particularly of the Pashtun ethnic group, are reportedly being subjected to widespread rapes, beatings, kidnappings and other forms of violence and intimidation.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the President of the Security Council asking him to circulate your letter to the other Security Council members. Call on the Security Council to authorize the immediate expansion of UN-authorized security forces in Afghanistan and to post these forces throughout the country with a mandate to disarm warring factions. Please also write to the President of the United States, urging him to reverse United States opposition to the expansion of the security forces and noting the special responsibility of the United States Government to help rebuild Afghanistan following the destruction caused by US bombing in the war. Urge him also to ensure that the funding commitments made by the United States and other donor countries in Tokyo are honored and delivered without further delay. Letters should be addressed to:

Security Council President for July 2003
H.E. Mr. Inocencio F. Arias
Permanent Mission of Spain
823 United Nations Plaza
345 East 46th Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10017, USA
Fax: 1-212-949-7247
Email: spain@spainun.org

Security Council President for September 2003
Sir Jeremy Quentin Greenstock, KCMG
Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom
One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 28th Floor
885 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017, USA
Fax: 1-212-745-9316
Email: uk@un.int

Security Council President for August 2003
H.E. Dr. Mikhail Wehbe
Permanent Mission of the Syrian Arab Republic
820 Second Avenue, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10017, USA
Fax: 1-212-983-4439
E-mail syria@un.int

Security Council President for October 2003
H.E. John D. Negroponte
Permanent Mission of the United States
799 UN Plaza
New York, NY 10017, USA
Fax: 1-212-415-4443
Email: usa@un.int

Afghanistan: Terrorism, The Taliban and The Role of Women in Peace and Security

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2001 Oct 1

On 11 September 2001, terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC, killing more than five thousand innocent people from more than eighty countries and adding the United States to the long list of nations that have suffered from terrorism. On 7 October 2001, the United States began bombing in Afghanistan, in a declared "war on terrorism" after the Taliban regime in Afghanistan failed to turn over Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the 11 September attacks.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the President of the Security Council asking him/her to circulate your letter to the other Security Council members. Call on the Security Council to authorize collective action in Afghanistan by Member States of the United Nations, in consultation with Afghan women's organizations and other currently disempowered elements of civil society. Urge the Security Council to consider new and creative forms of intervention in accordance with its mandate under Chapter VII - to restore peace and maintain security, to contribute towards the reconstruction of Afghanistan and to undertake a long-term initiative designed to create an environment conducive to free and fair elections in Afghanistan with the participation of all people, including women, on the basis of equality.

Security Council President for November
H.E. Patricia Durrant
Permanent Mission of Jamaica
767 Third Avenue, 9th floor
New York, NY 10017
Fax: 212-935-7607
Email: jamaica@un.int

Security Council President for December
H.E. Moctar Ouane
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Mali
111 East 69th Street
New York, NY 10021
Fax: 212-472-3778
Email: mali@un.int

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