Afghanistan: Afghan Women's Network statement

Afghan Women's Network
It is with deep sorrow, and enduring condemnation, that the people of Afghanistan mourn the loss of Mrs. Safia Amajan, assassinated on her way to work on the morning of September 25, 2006.
We offer our condolences to her respected family, community and province during their time of grief.
Sadly, Safia Amajan is only an example. She is only one of the many people who have lost their lives to the increased violence in Afghanistan. Though we have seen many changes in the past five years – the fall of the Taliban, the drafting and signing of a national constitution, the successful election of a democratic government, the signing of five internationally binding treaties (one of which is the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Violence Against Women), women elected to, and serving in, Parliament, more than a million girls attending school, the creation of women run NGOs across the country and more women studying on a university then in 20 years – the social, economic and political situation worsens daily.

Our most basic right – that of security and protection – remains unmet. Our government and the many international actors working in Afghanistan have made many promises yet we still live in constant fear. Our police, our military, our legal system and our government offer no protection from our enemies. Acts of terrorism, wrongfully carried out in the name of Islam, are, for the first time in Afghan history, plaguing our streets, schools and government buildings. Suicide bombs and politically motivated attacks render innocent men, women and children fearful as they leave their homes for school and work. Public servants – men and women dedicated to the reconstruction and future of Afghanistan – risk being killed for their ideas and work. Our brave, courageous elected officials – men and women chosen by us, the people of Afghanistan – live under constant threat of harm.

These conditions directly prohibit progress and growth in Afghanistan. Without security there can be no freedom and without freedom there can be no democracy. Without security women, men, girls and boys lack the ability to freely participate in the educational, developmental and structural growth of Afghanistan’s government and society. Without security the people of Afghanistan are forced to live in a culture of fear, anxiety and uncertainty. Without security the oppressive ideas and actions of our enemies, both at home and abroad, gain increased power and momentum.

The Afghan Women’s Network (AWN), Agency Coordination Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR), Afghan Civil Society Forum (ACSF) and the Foundation for Culture and Civil Society (FCCS), in the name of our members and partners, stand here today to denounce brutal, un-Islamic acts of terrorism. We stand here to send the strong message that we will not give up the fight for the safety, security and empowerment of all Afghan people. The murder or intimidation of our courageous leaders will not stop us in our struggle to promote and protect human and women’s rights. We ask the people of Afghanistan, and our brothers and sisters around the world, to channel their fear and anger into a renewed and binding commitment to achieve the dreams of Safia Amajan and the many other martyrs who lost their lives in the fight for human and women’s rights. We ask the people of Afghanistan, and our brothers and sisters around the world, for their solidarity and support in showing the world that the people of Afghanistan believe in peace, demand protection and are willing to fight for the security of their country and families.

It is the sole responsibility of the government of Afghanistan, as delineated in our Constitution and international legal commitments, to protect its citizens from violence and harm, death and discrimination. We ask the government of Afghanistan and the international community to:
  1. Provide all necessary security provisions – in the form of drivers, bodyguards, secure technology and any other items deemed necessary – to men and women who work as community leaders and government officials.
  2. Provide financial support to the families of people who are murdered by acts of terrorism or other state related acts of violence.
  3. Demand that the international community dedicate time, money and resources to uncovering the root causes of social insecurity and terrorism.
  4. Demand that the international military dedicate time, money and resources to intelligence training for local police and national military.
  5. Increase the salaries of the police and national army.
  6. Recruit professional people within the police structure.
  7. Demand that international human rights organizations initiate research and advocacy intended to apply pressure to international governments and policy bodies.
  8. Comply with internationally binding legal standards of protection and human rights.
  9. Protect our borders from neighboring countries that support, harbor and encourage terrorism.
  10. Expand security policy so that strict, swift action is taken against terrorists despite all political costs.
  11. Ensure that concrete legal actions are taken to catch, prosecute and punish all men and women involved in acts of terrorism.
  12. Seek out and punish all officials involved in corruption.