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Living together - Combining diversity and freedom in 21st-century Europe [Report of the Group of Eminent Persons of the Council of Europe] PDF DOWNLOAD >>

DOCUMENTARIO DEDICATO DA AL-JAZEERA ALLA LEADER RADICALE EMMA BONINO

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DAY TO REMEMBER WOMEN OF KABUL

by Emma Bonino

BRUSSELS: Imagine living under gender apartheid, segregated from men. For many women in Afghanistan today, that's the way things are. Over the course of 20 years of war and civil conflict, they suffered untold hardship and loss; now the women of Kabul live in strict segregation, which threatens their survival, whether inside Afghanistan or in the refugee camps. Afghan women, especially those in cities, used to play a full part in public life. Now they are virtually under siege. They are banned from working outside their homes. They are not allowed to go out alone or to speak in public. They have to wear the all-enveloping burqa outside the home. Girls are banned from going to school and universities are closed to them. Women may seek health-care only in the few facilities designated for them and they may be denied treatment if there is no female doctor available. An Afghan woman recently died of burns because a male doctor would not treat her. This severe form of purdah is not part of the traditional or religious practices observed in the country over the centuries. It is an extreme example of the way in which conflict situations may affect women and men differently, and we cannot remain indifferent while those responsible abuse their powers. They are flouting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whose 50th anniversary the United Nations is about to celebrate and to which previous Afghan governments subscribed. They are also flouting declarations made at the United Nations Conferences on Women, held in Vienna and Beijing, aimed at eliminating discrimination against women. Only with the imposition of strict segregation for women in Kabul did the West become aware of the dangers of everyday life there. Maybe people had trouble believing what they had heard about their plight; perhaps they had mistaken the stories for racist propaganda. Whatever the reason, the women of Afghanistan were long ignored. Finally, last October, the European Parliament came up with the idea of dedicating International Women's Day on March 8 to Afghan women, with a campaign entitled A Flower For The Women Of Kabul. These women should be seen as symbolizing women fighting for their rights, wherever they may be. I visited Kabul last September - and I was arrested by the religious police in a women's hospital, a hospital with no water, no electricity and few supplies of any kind. As a result, I have come to the conclusion that the threshold for indignation has been set too high. How many restrictions, how many horror stories, does it take before we say enough is enough? Some organizations working there have argued for a pragmatic approach in delivering aid, winning concessions where they can. The danger of such an approach is that a concession may be outweighed by a hardening of positions in other respects. We are not asking organizations working in Afghanistan to undertake advocacy on this issue. It is up to the leaders of the humanitarian community to take a position in a campaign such as this. Otherwise, we break our own rules about providing aid without discrimination. In many countries, Islamic nations among them, the campaign is gaining momentum. More than 80 prominent women, including six Nobel prize-winners, have signed an appeal for the restoration of human rights in Afghanistan and on March 8 there will be events to mark the campaign worldwide. However, it would be dishonest of me if I did not speak out about the cold shoulders we have encountered elsewhere. Those with interests in oil or narcotics may find it more important to cultivate good relations with the Taliban than to show solidarity with the ghost-women of Kabul. In the next few weeks, we will see if ours is a world in which a person's freedom is worth the price of a barrel of crude.





Altri articoli su:
[ Afghanistan ] [ Un Fiore per le Donne di Kabul ] [ Diritti Umani, Civili  & Politici ]

Comunicati su:
[ Afghanistan ] [ Un Fiore per le Donne di Kabul ] [ Diritti Umani, Civili  & Politici ]

Interventi su:
[ Afghanistan ] [ Un Fiore per le Donne di Kabul ] [ Diritti Umani, Civili  & Politici ]


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