Concerns for Afghan Women Highlighted on Women's Day



On the occasion of International Women’s Day, several international organizations and diplomatic missions have said they are concerned about the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan and are committed to stand by their side.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan in a statement said it stands by Afghan women and girls as they face the consequences of multiple crises combined with gender inequality and discrimination. “What we are witnessing today in Afghanistan is a crisis of catastrophic proportions. Everyone in the country is affected by the current crises, but the situation for women and girls is particularly concerning as their rights and access to opportunities have become increasingly challenged,” said Deborah Lyons, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.

UNAMA said women and girls’ full and equal participation in all areas of public life is critical to the future of Afghanistan, while denying them their rights to freedom of movement, work and education means limiting greater economic development of Afghanistan. “We remain firm in our belief that no durable peace, recovery, or stability is possible without women’s active engagement and participation in the social, economic, and political life of their country,” reads UNAMA’s press release.

Amnesty International said on the occasion that women in Afghanistan are being denied their fundamental rights and urged that they should be supported in their fight for their rights.

“Governments around the world must put the rights of women and girls at the very center of their foreign policy for Afghanistan. They must take their lead from Afghan women’s rights defenders, and insist, for example, on women’s and girls’ equal access to education, to employment and to essential services, without discrimination,” Amnesty’s Secretary General, Agnès Callamard said.

Human Rights Watch also said the Afghan women and girls’ have faced severe challenges in the past seven months and their rights have been rolled back, while the international community’s response has been minimal. “The world’s response has been muted. Several countries proudly claim a 'feminist foreign policy.' But the international response to these developments has lacked urgency, and there is little sign of an effective coordinated plan to protect the rights of Afghan women and girls,” it said.

The US embassy in Kabul (which operates from Doha), the EU Delegation in Afghanistan and several other diplomatic missions have also called for the preservation of Afghan women and girls’ rights and their inclusion in social and political life.

The Islamic Emirate, meanwhile, said it is committed in supporting women and girls. In a message on the occasion of Women’s Day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Twitter: “Protracted wars in Afghanistan have been immensely detrimental for women. IEA is committed to addressing the plight of Afghan women, and providing facilities for an honorable and beneficial life in light of the noble religion of Islam and our accepted traditions.”

The Islamic Emirate’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid also said on Twitter: “The Islamic Emirate is committed to upholding the Sharia rights of all Afghan women. International Women's Day is a great opportunity for our Afghan women to demand their legitimate rights. We protect and defend the rights of our Afghan women, God willing.”