Any compromise on women’s rights in a peace deal between the Afghan government and the Taliban would betray two decades of hard-won progress for Afghan women, said Amnesty International, ahead of a new campaign highlighting the incredible work of women human rights defenders in Afghanistan.
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The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign starting on 25 November – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – and running until 10 December, Human Rights Day.
The campaign celebrates Women Human Rights Defenders in every region of the world who fight gender-based discrimination and stand up for women’s rights. It calls on governments to prevent, investigate, and prosecute violence against women and girls.
“Having spent two decades fighting hard to win their most basic rights, Afghan women now face the real possibility of seeing these gains bargained away,” Samira Hamidi, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Campaigner said.
At a moment when the rights of Afghan women are at grave risk of being traded off in a peace deal with the Taliban, Amnesty International is working with women human rights defenders in Afghanistan to showcase their powerful stories.
“As the stories we’ve gathered powerfully demonstrate, Afghan women have been at the forefront of efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan. They have played a vital role in ensuring that issues such as human rights, justice, accountability, victims’ rights, and crimes against humanity are on the agenda in the ongoing peace efforts,” Samira Ahmadi said
Under the Taliban, women and girls were denied a whole range of human rights, including the rights to education, health, free movement, and political and social participation.
On each of the 16 days, the campaign will feature social media video clips of women human rights defenders in Afghanistan discussing what peace means to them, what the meaningful participation of women in the peace process should look like, and their ideas of equality, justice and human rights – now and in a future Afghanistan.
In 2019, Amnesty International featured 16 Women Human Rights Defenders in its 16 days of activism campaign.