Campaign for the Civil and Political Rights of Afghani Women
Internacional governmental and human rights organizations
Association Testarda; Association Casa della Donna di Pisa
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WOMEN AGAINST FUNDAMENTALISMS
CAMPAIGN FOR THE CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS OF AFGHANI WOMEN
The ongoing struggle for our rights and for our democracy is inseparable from the support of Afghani women's own struggle.
For years, their own groups (RAWA in particular) have provided documents, proofs, testimony and analyses of the situation in Afghanistan. Along with democratic Algerian, Iranian and Egyptian women, they have been the principal source of information on the devastating effects of fundamentalisms, and on the responsibility of the United States and the Western world for the construction, the financing and the legitimization of regimes based on the violation of women's rights - the United States and the West which have neglected or eliminated all democratic opposition movements.
Afghani women have been and are today in the front lines of the resistance to the terrorist regimes established first by the mujahaddin of the Northern Alliance and then by the Taliban. They have fought for years for a secular and democratic society, opposing at the risk of their lives rules and laws which negate their rights as human beings. We know, and reports from the United Nations have corroborated, that women's groups and networks are active in Afghanistan and in the refugee camps in Pakistan. They have thousands of members, and they organize illegal schools, medical assistance, literacy courses for women, and micro-economic projects. In a female population suffering from serious clinical depression (almost 98\% of the population, according to statistics) these networks have kept alive women's consciousness of their rights and the hope for change. Despite the systematic destruction by the Taliban of all manifestations of secular, civilian society, they have continued to build the possibility of a future.
Today, the women's groups active in Afghanistan and in Pakistan condemn the war waged by the United States and its allies. For it does nothing but worsen the already-desperate condition of thousands of civilians, of women in particular, now even more than ever exposed to poverty, violence, abuses and death. And these groups declare that the struggle against the terrorist regime of the Taliban will not be won by bombing, but by the support of Afghani women's rights and of the resistance of the Afghani people.
Diplomatic discussions are already underway to prepare the political future of Afghanistan: the proposal is to bring to the negotiating table members of the Northern Alliance and Taliban "moderates." This meeting proposes to bring together all the elements of the population, but the pre-negotiations have taken place entirely among men. The representation of women has not even been discussed. Apparently, they are considered as mere victims of the fundamentalist regime, or as unfortunate "collateral damage" of the American war. They are not regarded as political actors in their own right, as citizens.
The signatories of this petition support Afghani women in their demand to participate fully and on every level in all negotiations concerning the future of their country. We assert firmly that international law cannot exist without the affirmation and safeguarding of women's rights, and that no political solution will be legitimate without the agreement and direct participation of women.
We ask that the women's groups in action in Afghanistan be called upon to take part as full participants in the negotiations to determine the future government of Afghanistan. We also ask that international organizations include them as essential, active negotiating partners, whether it is a question of organizing humanitarian aid to resolve the most urgent current crises, or of the political reconstruction of the country.
With reference to the United Nations report ("Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and its consequences," Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Mission to Pakistan and Afghanistan, 1999) we also ask:
- that every future government in Afghanistan undertake immediately to abolish all discriminatory measures against women, and to guarantee them full participation in public, cultural, political economic and social life.
- that the international organizations engaged in humanitarian aid and in the reconstruction of the country choose as a primary objective, which must be kept in view, the empowerment of Afghani women, and that these organizations, insofar as it is possible, involve Afghani women in the realization of their projects.
- that foreign governments agree to give political asylum and the formal status of political refugees to all women victims of fundamentalist regimes which systematically violate their human rights and put their safety and their lives in danger.
We invite all women's groups, and all groups, parties, unions, which are fighting for democracy and the defense of human rights to support this campaign, to put pressure on governmental organizations to officially accept and support these demands, and to organize their own campaigns of information about, and support for the women of Afghanistan. Support for their struggle should be the focus of a major international movement for human rights and civil rights.
Association Casa della Donna di Pisa
With the support of Mujeres en Red, Spain
For information: [email protected]