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The Situation in Afghanistan

Statement from UN Women – 9 September 2021

Executive Director a.i. of UN Women, Pramila Patten, stands in solidarity with Afghan women who are fighting for the respect of their fundamental rights and freedoms

“Women have a right to peaceful protest and to a life free of violence.  In taking control of Afghanistan the Taliban authorities assume a duty to respect and protect these rights,” Pramila Patten said.

“I am shocked and outraged by the images of women in Afghanistan being whipped, hit with shock batons and beaten simply for exercising their right to peaceful protest.  I stand in solidarity with all Afghan women who are fighting for the respect of their fundamental rights and freedoms.  This deliberate violence is being carried out openly and shamelessly.  It marks a clear escalation in disregard for women’s human rights.

“The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women has made clear that freedom from violence is indivisible and interdependent with all other human rights, including, specifically, rights to freedom of expression, movement, participation, assembly and association.  Violence against women is an assault on their rights as a whole.

“I call again upon the Taliban to adhere to their duty to ensure the full rights of all women and girls in Afghanistan, to ensure the immediate cessation of this wholly unacceptable normalisation of violence against them and to monitor and investigate these violations so that perpetrators are held accountable whenever and wherever such violence occurs.  There can be little credibility for promises made by the Taliban authorities to respect the rights of women and girls while such flagrant violations take place with impunity.  There must be urgent action to ensure that women can fully, equally and safely exercise their right to participation in the public and political life of Afghanistan”.

SI Statement on the Situation in Afghanistan – 24 August 2021

As Afghanistan returns to an acute crisis, Soroptimist International is extremely concerned about the impacts of a return to Taliban rule on women and girls. Over recent decades significant progress has been made supporting the realisation of women’s and girls’ rights in Afghanistan to the benefit of individuals, families, communities, and the country. Many young women and girls have never lived under oppressive rule – they have been free to pursue their education, careers, and ambitions. These hard-won freedoms cannot be lost and belong to all women and girls everywhere. Soroptimist International stands in solidarity with the women and girls of Afghanistan and encourages the international community to do the same.

Soroptimist International has released a statement calling for the immediate mobilisation of aid to secure these basic rights for Afghan women and girls. All countries have a responsibility to support and protect women and girls fleeing violence and extreme oppression and to fulfil this duty countries must immediately recognise the refugee status of women and girls, and implement safe, orderly, regular and legal migration routes that will keep women and girls protected from harm.

Actions Soroptimists can take to help women and girls in Afghanistan

SI has produced some social media graphics for Clubs to post to show their support for the women and girls of Afghanistan. They are on the SI Trello Board – https://trello.com/b/2I2Iu4Jl/social-media-resources.

An action that Soroptimists in the UK can take immediately is to collect and donate clothes for the refugees. Google your local collection point where you can take your donations.

Soroptimists can make donations to the following organisations still operating in Afghanistan:

  1. UN Women: https://www.unwomenuk.org;
  2. International Committee of the Red Cross: https://www.icrc.org

Human Rights Council Meeting 24 August 2021

Soroptimist International has signed a statement from women’s organisations to the Human Rights Council meeting on 24 August 2021.

Berthe De Vos-Neven, Soroptimist International United Nations Representative, Geneva has produced a report on the 31st special session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) on the serious human rights concerns and situation in Afghanistan held 24 August 2021: