FEMMES EN MARCHE POUR L'AFGHANISTAN
AFGHAN WOMEN ESENTIAL RIGHTS
On June 27th and 28 th 2000 a conference took place in Dushanbe, that will undoubtfully be crucial for Afghan Women rights. The conference was coordinated by NEGAR, an association created to support Afghan Women, and by "Women on the Road for Afghanistan".
200 Afghan women, leaders or members of refugee organisations in Tadjikistan, Europe and United States, and Afghan women coming from Afghanistan, as well as Tajik women's association leaders and women from the five continents who are leaders in women's rights or members of associations supporting this collective action, attended the conference.
Documents adopted by the conference are the following :
MEETING WITH MASSOUD
Following the conference a delegation was able to travel to Afghanistan. On July 2nd 2000, the military commander of Afghanistan's Northern Alliance signed the Declaration of the Essentiel Rights for women in Afghanistan.
The declaration of the Essential Rights of Women in Afghanistan was taken into Afghanistan on June 29 th by a group of eight women and one man who braved the hazardous two hour helicopter flight to the remote Panshiri Valley in Northern Afghanistan. This beautiful river valley is the stronghold of the Northern Alliance forces opposing the ultraconservative Taliban movement which now controls over 80 % of Afghanistan.
The delegation's goal was to meet with the military commander of the Northern Alliance, Massoud and determine his support for the rights of Afghan women.
Since the emergence of the Taliban, women in Afghanistan have been denied even their most basic rights to education, healthcare, work and freedom of movement. Compulsory wearing of the tchador, or burka, has made tchadri a symbol of the horrific treatment of women under the Taliban's Islamic fundamentalist regime.
The "Women on the Road for Afghanistan" delegation, consisting of four afghan women, an american women's rights activist, and four french journalists, hoped that Massoud's anti-taliban position would include a commitment to supporting the rights claimed by Afghan women in their Declaration.
In spite of the outbreak of a major summer offensive by the Taliban two days earlier, Massoud agreed to meet with the delegation at a site 80 km from the frontline. Massoud's signature on the document sends a crucial message to Afghan women that enforcement their human rights, originally guaranteed in Afghanistan's constitution in 1966, will be restored if Massoud's forces are successful in overthrowing the Taliban regime.
NEGAR leader, Haidar, stated that "Only a government fully committed to the human rights of all Afghans, and the political participation of all Afghans, is worthy of the support of Afghan women".
FOLLOW UP ACTIONS
Following the decision made at the conference in Douchanbe to give publicity to the Declaration of the "Essential Rights of Women in Afghanistan", the following actions were carried out or announced :
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