Delegates to Press That Aid Will Be Conditioned on Women's Rights and That Resolution 1325 Must Be Implemented to Ensure Women's Equal Participation in the Maintenance of Peace
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
December 20, 2001
Press Conference to Be Held Thursday, December 20 at 10:00 AM
The Afghan Women Summit delegates are:
Leila Enayat-Seraj, Director of Afghan Art Project for Peace, co-founder of the Committee on the Prevention of Discriminatory Practices Against Women in the United Nations. Based in Switzerland.
Shafiqa Habibi, Former prominent broadcast journalist in Kabul and head of the Women’s Radio and Television Broadcast Organization until the Taliban came to power. Based in Afghanistan.
Adeena Niazi, Former Professor at Kabul University and Founder/Director of Afghan Women’s Organization in Toronto. Based in Canada.
Soraya Paikan, Formerly with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Mazar-e-Sharif. Former Professor of Law, University of Kabul. Fled Afghanistan seven months ago for Peshawar with five of her six daughters.
Sahar Saba, Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). Based in Pakistan.
Sima Wali, Founder/Director of Refugee Women in Development, Member of the Rome delegation to the Bonn negotiations. Based in Washington, D.C.
The women will address the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday at 10:00 AM.
The Afghan Women’s Summit was a two-day global gathering of Afghan women held in Brussels December 4-5. Over 40 grassroots Afghan women leaders, broadly representative of women in Afghanistan, took part in the Summit and issued the Brussels Proclamation. The goal of the Summit was to bring the voices of the Afghan women into the current international political discourse, ensuring that their message is heard and that women have equal say and rights in the new government. Following the Summit, this delegation of six Afghan women is carrying their message to key political decision-makers around the world.
The Summit delegates arrived in New York after post summit meetings with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of State Colin Powell and other political leaders in Washington, D.C. last week. The delegates first post-Summit meeting was on December 6 with the European Parliament in Brussels.
The Afghan Women’s Summit was organized by women’s rights organizations from around the world—European Women's Lobby, Equality Now, V-Day, the Center for Strategic Initiatives of Women, and The Feminist Majority, in collaboration with the Gender Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and UNIFEM.
The Brussels Proclamation is a blueprint that outlines in detail the Afghan Women’s Summit’s comprehensive vision for the future and specifies their immediate reconstruction needs. The Proclamation represents a historic expression of their fundamental human rights and right to full participation in their country at levels of civil society, together with a list of concrete demands for immediate implementation. The women carry the message that significant portions of any international aid should go to projects benefiting women, as well as a full restoration of women’s rights as citizens and the participation of women in drafting new laws and a future constitution.
The Brussels Proclamation addresses four central components of Afghan society: education and culture, healthcare, refugees and human rights. Demands include:
- The right for women to vote and to be entitled to equal pay and equal access to health care, education and employment
- An emergency plan for reopening schools by March 2002 for both girls and boys, a new curriculum, and training of teachers
- The inclusion of Afghan women lawyers in the development of a new constitution which would include the principles of non-discrimination
- The rebuilding of hospitals and provision of vital medicines, treatments and services, including psychological counselling and mother and child healthcare
- Central inclusion of women in the Loya Jirga
- The protection of women from forced underage marriages and sexual harassment
Activists from 16 countries from around the world met in parallel sessions in Brussels to formulate support strategies for the implementation of the Brussels Proclamation. Eve Ensler, Artistic Director and Founder of V-Day, will declare on International Women’s Day 2002 (March 8) that for women “Afghanistan is Everywhere” in support of the Brussels Proclamation.
PRESS CONFERENCE AT EQUALITY NOW IN NY:
Six Afghan Women delegates, with representatives of the Afghan Women’s Summit conveners including Eve Ensler, Artistic Director and Founder, V-DAY; Playwright, “The Vagina Monologues”, Jessica Neuwirth, Equality Now President and Hibaaq Osman, Center for Strategic Initiatives of Women President. Actor Meryl Streep will moderate the press conference.
Thursday, December 20, 2001 at 10:00 AM
Equality Now, 250 West 57th Street, Suite 1527, New York, 212-586-0906.