Afghan Women's Summit for Democracy

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United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women and Peace and Security formally recognizes the critical role of women in the resolution of conflict. To facilitate the implementation of Resolution 1325, and in support of and solidarity with the women of Afghanistan, Equality Now organized a coalition of women’s organizations, which, in collaboration with the Gender Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and UNIFEM, convened the Afghan Women’s Summit for Democracy.

Held December 4 and 5, 2001 in Brussels at the European Commission, the Summit provided a unique forum for forty Afghan women leaders from all parts of the world including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, the Central Asian Republics, the United States, Canada and Europe, to discuss their involvement in decision-making over the future of their country. The convening coalition of organizations included V-Day, The European Women’s Lobby, the Centre for the Strategic Initiatives of Women, and The Feminist Majority.

The Afghan Women’s Summit adopted The Brussels Proclamation (English and French only), an historic expression of the long held dreams and aspirations of Afghan women, together with a list of concrete demands for immediate implementation relating to the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Women leaders from around the world joined the Afghan women in Brussels in solidarity, and activists from 16 countries met in a parallel session during the Summit to formulate support strategies for the women of Afghanistan, adopting a Declaration of Solidarity (English and French only).

Following the Summit, Equality Now and the other conveners organized a political and media tour for six delegates from the Summit to deliver their message to officials from the European Union, the United States and the United Nations, including the UN Security Council and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Follow-up activities are continuing, and in March 2002 Equality Now participated in a mission to Afghanistan organized by V-Day, for a first-hand update on the situation there and a strategy discussion with women’s groups and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

Equality Now also worked with women lawyers in Afghanistan to help them establish the Afghan Women Lawyers and Professionals Association (AWLPA), which has among its goals to participate in the construction of a legal framework for the country that incorporates fundamental human rights for women.

  • 6 December 2001 Press Release: In Celebration of Freedom, Afghan Women’s Summit Defines the Path and Launches a Global Campaign for Human Rights and Democracy in Afghanistan (English only)
  • 14 December 2001 Press Release: Delegates from the Afghan Women’s Summit Present Brussels Proclamation to Congressional and State Department Leaders (English only)
  • 20 December 2001 Media Advisory: Leading Delegates of the Afghan Women’s Summit will meet with the United Nations Security Council; Actor Meryl Streep to Moderate at Press Conference Detailing Afghan Women’s Demands and the Global Campaign to Support their Struggle for Human Rights and Democracy (English only)