Afghanistan: Open letter on the assassination of Qandahar women’s rights activist Safia Amajan

Afghan Women's Network
An open letter to the Afghan authorities and international community from Afghan civil society in response to the assassination of Safia Amajan and increasing violence against women, especially those in public life.
To: His Excellency Hamid Karzai President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
His Excellency Kofi Annan Head of the United Nations General Assembly
The International Community Supporting Afghanistan Reconstruction
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
The People of Afghanistan

We, the selected representatives from government, Parliament, civil society, political parties and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission want to express our grief and concern over the Taliban’s assassination of Mrs. Safia Amajan. While we believe our sadness and anger is shared by each of you, we are concerned that such incidents of violence are taking the people of Afghanistan back in time, to the dark days of oppressive and destructive government regimes.

Mrs. Safia Amajan was a 65 year old grandmother and mother of four who was elected to the position of Director of the Women Affair’s Ministry directorate of Qandahar after the fall of the Taliban. She dedicated her life to helping others as a teacher, human and women’s rights activist and Hafiz of the Holy Quran. Mrs. Amajan’s commitment to her community and her work was well respected throughout Afghanistan.

The killing of a respected, hardworking and dedicated woman such as Safia Amajan forces us to ask ourselves if the progress made over the last five years has been worthless. Terrorist acts that go unpunished call the credibility and capability of the Afghan Government and the international community into question. The increase in violence seen over the past year in Afghanistan shows that the combined government, UN, NATO, Coalition Forces, ISAF, national police and army are unable to provide lasting security and law enforcement. Unable to and foster the promised, and deserved, freedom and democracy. This weakness not only impedes peoples ability to participate in the economic and social development of Afghanistan but provides increased motivation and opportunity to the destructive groups of men and women who believe in the oppression of women. Without such participation the vision of an enduring democracy is unattainable.

This murder of Safia Amajan shows that those fighting against freedom and democracy in Afghanistan are committed to removing women from public life as they are seen as an obstacle to achieving their goals. We therefore ask the Afghanistan Islamic Republic, the International community and NATO forces that take serious steps towards providing security and protection for women. The Government and International community can must support, protect and encourage women’s full participation and just efforts in all aspects of public life.

Our message to the women and men of Afghanistan is to stand strong and not allow heinous, anti-Islamic acts to take away their courage and belief in the reconstruction of a free, developed and sovereign Afghanistan.

Representatives from:
Ministry of Women Affairs
Ministry of Health
The Upper House of Parliament The Lower House of Parliament
Afghanistan Independent Commission of Human Rights
Political Parties
Afghan Women’s Network (AWN)
All Women Union of Afghanistan
Humanitarian assistance for Women and Children of Afghanistan (HAWCA)
Afghans Civil Society Forum
Culture and Civil Society of Afghanistan
The Judges Association
The Council of People of Afghanistan
Salam Organization
Women's World
The Association Free Speech