Declaration of Women’s Great Assembly on the “International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women” in Daikundi, Afghanistan made on December 12, 2009.
Eight years since the fall of the Taliban regime, and establishment of a centralized elected Government in Afghanistan, in partnership with the international community, regrettably the the situation for women in Afghanistan has worsened. There has been improvement in a few areas, but in many cases problems increased.
According to reports from the Women’s Affairs Ministry at the November 25th commemoration ceremony in Kabul, unfortunately, violence against women has increased every year. The incidence of violence increased 90% over last year, which imperils those who are actively engaged in promoting human rights.
It has become clear that the slogan “fight against violence against women” is an empty statement, and what is more painful is that people don’t even believe what they say, though the Afghan constitution confirms that men and women are equal and have equal rights.
Equality for women in Afghanistan is given only lip service by self-styled “progressives” and “intellectuals” from around the world. The reality is that talented and hard-working women who try their best to conduct political and community-support issues are given official responsibility, but are obstructed by huge hurdles and hardships deliberately placed in their way. Then it is said, because they are women, they cannot be effective in their jobs. They have been set up by a crooked, male-dominated system to fail.
Therefore we Afghan women today, with complete awareness in this great conference, voice our solidarity with all women from each and every corner of the world to say hugely and loudly that violence against women must cease.
We declare to those who knowingly or unknowingly violate the rights of women and subject them to violence, that we have had enough of discrimination, exploitation, and injustice.
We demand the elimination of violence against women, and we are one voice with women worldwide fighting for the elimination of violence against women, according to the following articles:
1. We Afghan women are tired of violence and the murder of our loved ones, and wish for a permanent peace pledge across all of Afghanistan.
2. We Afghan women demand that women’s rights be aligned with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, the Declaration of the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW,) in accordance with the constitutional law of Afghanistan, and in accordance with the holy religion Islam. We demand of the new government that women rights under the above documents will be strictly adhered to.
3. We Afghan women call on the new president to have an effective and visible plan to include women in all of Afghanistan’s political, social, economic and cultural areas.
4. We Afghan women appreciate, and welcome the decision of our friend, The United States of America, and the international community to increase the number of troops to protect the Afghan people. We insist that they help build and train the Afghan National Army and National Police in all areas such as capacity building and other related improvements.
5. We Afghan women call upon the government to pay more attention to the prevention of the trafficking of woman and girls, and to see that it is eliminated from our country.
6. We Afghan women want more attention from international organizations that support the struggle for women’s, children’s and human rights, and want them to concentrate on protecting those rights in Afghanistan and throughout the world.
7. We Afghan women call for international troops to be careful that civilian casualties are absolutely minimized during their air operations.
8. On the subject of increasing amount of violence against women in Afghanistan, we Afghan women demand that a clear and concise strategy for addressing this problem become the principal task of the international community and the Afghan government.
Testimonial Report of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women Daikundi, Afghanistan December 12th 2009
The ceremonial congregation on Saturday December 12th 2009 held in the Nili Municipal building in Nili City, Daikundi, Afghanistan, in order to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, with the massive participation of more than one thousand & five hundred (1,500) women, gathered to mark their solidarity with all Afghan women and women around the world to demand the cessation of violence against women.
People from all walks of life gathered at the ceremony. High profile personalities from government agencies, national, and international organizations, the United States Special Forces- Daikundi, and all the provincial cultural associations and women’s councils were present for the occasion.
The ceremony was organized by the Nili Municipality, and the Independent Human Rights Commission of Daikundi, with cooperation from the UNAMA, Daikundi Youth Association, Daikundi Women’s Councils, and Radio Daikundi.
The ceremony commenced with a recitation of the holy Quran, followed by the Afghan National Anthem. The audience’s hearts were captured by the legendary singer Dawood Sarkhus’s song, (Az rah-e-dur amadi, manda na bashi). A group of kids boys and girls performed the song on stage with costumes especially designed for the occasion. It was the first performance for the entire province, and was enthusiastically received by all.
The first speaker was the deputy governor of the province followed by the only woman speaker, Mayor Azra Jafari. Mayor Jafari outlined the core problems and issues regarding violence against women. The audience heartily agreed by continuously nodding their heads. As she described the history of violence against women and the importance of organizing this occasion, she firmly stated that violence against women must stop.
She said: “Though the province Daikundi is one of the most remote and neglected provinces of Afghanistan, if its people are given a chance they can improve rapidly in all walks of life, in both the short and long run of the development process. What this province needs from the Afghan government is a clear and concise development strategy for women.”
“Women in Daikundi need proper health education. This cannot be achieved if women themselves don’t struggle for their betterment. We Afghan women must try to learn and be educated; we must fill the gap in the province, and we can only make it possible by being more aware, by being educated to become teachers, doctors, and nurses, and becoming effective pillars of the community and our families.
With this huge gathering, women of Daikundi express their solidarity with all Afghan and the world’s women, and saying loudly to the government of Afghanistan and the international community to pay attention to the condition of women in Afghanistan.”
The women in Daikundi issued a declaration of Daikundi women’s needs and desires from the government and international community, which was read by a woman. It was followed by a huge white banner on which all the participants printed their hands with colored paint. About 300 women accomplished a long march of about 4 kilometers from the Nili municipal building to the UNAMA office. Then the banner was given to the head of human rights section of the UNAMA office in Daikundi. This peaceful and unique demonstration, had never been done before in Afghanistan, and the women of Daikundi are proud to have hosted it.