From the European Parliament a strong appeal to respect and enhance women’s rights in Afghanistan

24 Apr, 2009 | Press Releases, Statement

Statement by Sergio Stanzani and Niccoló Figa-Talamanca, respectively President of the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty and Secretary General of No Peace Without Justice:

No Peace Without Justice and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty welcome today’s European Parliament Resolution on Afghanistan as an important indication of Europe’s commitment to the women and children of Afghanistan.

Today’s joint resolution, supported by all political groups on women’s rights in Afghanistan, echoes the appeal launched recently by NPWJ and the NRPTT in calling for the withdrawal of the Shi’ite Personal Status law, which was recently approved by both chambers of the Afghan Parliament and signed by President Hamid Karzai. The Resolution also forcefully condemns the acts of violence perpetrated against activists who are working to promote human rights and the emancipation of Afghan women, in particular the recent assassination of the regional parliamentarian Sitara Achikzai.

We commend the European Parliament for joining the strong choir of protest, both inside and outside Afghanistan, against a law which entrenches severe restrictions on women’s freedom of movement and gives an aura of legitimacy to multiple forms of discrimination against women. This law patently breaches the principle of equality between men and women, which is protected in the Afghan Constitution and in numerous international agreements on human rights and fundamental freedoms to which Afghanistan is a party.

As stated in the EP resolution, we strongly believe that gender equality and women’s rights are essential for the democratic development of Afghanistan and we call on the Afghan authorities to take all possible steps to protect women against sexual violence and other forms of gender-related violence and to bring the perpetrators of such acts to justice.

We also urge the Commission, the Council and EU Member States to continue to keep up pressure on the law on the personal status of Shiite women and any discrimination against women and children that officially relegates them to second-class citizens. The long-term commitment made by the international community to assisting Afghanistan in its reconstruction efforts should not, under any circumstances, help return to the restrictive, discriminatory practices that existed under Taliban rule.

Despite President Karzai’s commitment to review the Law, we remain concerned that it remains part of Afghanistan’s law right now. We will continue, through our joint international appeal that has collected hundreds of signatures, to put the Afghan authorities on notice that we will continue to watch and that we will never accept to pay the cost of brokering a political truce within Afghanistan with the sacrifice of fundamental rights of women. The appeal is available on

For further information, contact Nicola Giovannini on org +32-2-548-3913. Check also