Tell the U.S.: Afghan women’s rights must be guaranteed alongside peace with the Taliban

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My name is Nahid Fattahi, I’m a woman who fights for other women’s rights. A woman who loves to learn. A woman who has prominent laugh lines on her face. Yet, I lost years of my childhood. I did not attend school from 7th to 11th grade. I know what it’s like to not have freedom. I know what it’s like to not being able to go to school. I know what’s it like to be marginalized and traumatized because of my gender. 

I was an Afghan child bride, and I am deeply worried that unless the global community comes together, the lives of so many women in Afghanistan will be at risk. 

Since the official fall of the Taliban, Afghan women have made so much progress and have been both empowered and free. Afghan women want their freedom to be guaranteed and sustained alongside peace with the Taliban. 

That’s why I’m asking for your signature today, demanding that U.S. leaders don’t sacrifice the rights and lives of women in any peace deal with the Taliban. 

The people of Afghanistan are yearning for peace, as the war in Afghanistan continues destroying lives due to the direct consequences of violence and the war-induced breakdown of public health, security, and infrastructure. But peace with the Taliban can’t come at women’s expense.

Peace with the Taliban must not conclude until the peace agreements are backed by measurable indicators ensuring women will have access to education, mobility, healthcare, and justice. 

The peace agreement must explicitly guarantee the following: 

  1. All girls and women will be allowed education in schools and universities exactly as is currently in the big cities of Afghanistan. Including having the freedom to participate in student exchange programs, and other scholarship and fellowship opportunities
  2. Universities will not be segregated 
  3. Women will have political participation freedom: Right to vote and hold office
  4. At least 27% of parliamentarian seats must go to women.
  5. Women will have the freedom to work anywhere they desire without having to have permission of a male guardian 
  6. Women will have the freedom to travel anywhere they desire without having to have permission of a male guardian 
  7. Women must continue to be a part of the mass media and entertainment industry. 
  8. Freedom of the press and freedom of speech must be continued
  9. As a survivor of child marriage, I advocate for having legal frameworks to protect girls and women from violence. The Elimination of Violence Against Women Law (EVAW law) is very vulnerable and susceptible to compromise in the peace process. The Afghan women need a guarantee that their rights will not be negotiated with the Taliban. The EVAW law of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan enacting by a Presidential decree must be safeguarded.

Stand with us, the women of Afghanistan, and ask President Trump, and the American government to work with us to make sure that Afghanistan’s peace that we desperately need can be achieved and sustained alongside our human rights. 

Please sign my petition to make sure Afghan women’s rights are guaranteed and sustained alongside the potential peace with the Taliban.