Afghan women's rights are at stake: Call on the Federal Government to act!

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Afghan women's rights are at stake: Call on the Federal Government to act!

The intra-Afghan dialogues are imminent: On March 10, 2020, the Afghan government was supposed to meet with the Taliban in Oslo to negotiate the future of the country. The landmark agreement between the US government and the Taliban which was signed on February 29, decides, among other things, on the complete military withdrawal of US troops and allies from Afghanistan within the next 14 months. Afghanistan will then be on its own.

The US-Taliban deal leaves out one of the most important issues by far: the protection of the hard-won gains and rights of women and girls in Afghanistan.

The Taliban regime was in power from 1996 - 2001. Under the Taliban, women and girls were completely excluded from public domain - access to education, health, as well as economic and political participation was radically denied to women and girls, and thus also the chance of a free, self-determined life. The public lashing, execution in open courts, stoning of women - this fundamental violation of human rights by the Taliban must never be forgotten.  

Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 and the interventions of the international community, the situation for women and girls has improved considerably. 9 million children, girls and boys, are going to school. Women take part in public life and are engaged in all of it's dimensions, whether as policewomen, teachers, ministers, businesswomen or artists. The last 18 years represent a major step forward - and this progress is now at stake - any compromise of these gains is not acceptable! 

Afghan women have paid a high price over four decades of conflicts, the German Federal Government and the international community must stand with us in this crucial time to protect women's rights. Afghan women neither allow to be the victims of political interests of parties and groups involved, and nor allow their rights and fundamental freedoms to be traded. If we leave Afghanistan alone now, it will not only contribute to the massive threats to the situation of women and girls,  but also will put all the international investments at risk.

We, therefore, demand the following immediate measures: 

1. The German government and governments worldwide should ensure that the peace talks within Afghanistan are inclusive and representative. Afghan women and representatives of all minorities must have a seat at the table - only in this way can they help shape the country's future. Currently, 25% of the recently announced negotiation team is comprised of women. This is a start, but we are still far off from equal representation. We demand that 50% of the Afghan government's negotiating team are represented by women! 

2. The Federal Government should moderate the peace negotiations between the Afghan Government and the Taliban and explicitly demand that all parties recognise women's rights and therefore the Afghan democratic constitution. An explicit, legally binding commitment of the Taliban to the basic democratic order should be achieved. Germany must not support the withdrawal of international troops without a clear commitment.  

3. The violence must stop. The Federal Government should call for an immediate ceasefire - a reduction in violence as announced by the Taliban, which has also not been enforced, is not acceptable. Every day innocent civilians die as a result of the attacks carried out by the Taliban and the ongoing conflict. We must increase pressure and call for a ceasefire to be called to protect the Afghan population and all international troops. 

4. We call on the international community and Afghanistan Independent Human Right Commission to strictly monitor the peace process. An assisted monitoring process carried out by the international community and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission will put the necessary measures in place to prevent any relapse and violation of women's rights. 

The time is now to stand and support Afghan women. Convey your demands to the Federal government and the international community by signing this petition.  

Women's rights are human rights. 

This Petition has been authored by: 

Hila Azadzoy, Social Entrepreneur

Zubaida Akbar, Women's Rights Activist 

Mary Akrami, Executive Director, Afghan Women's Network (AWN) 

Storai Tapesh, Deputy Executive Director, Afghan Women's Network (AWN)

This Petition is endorsed by:

Hangama, Artist 

Sara Sooror, Artist