KABUL (Pajhwok): The European Parliament decided to nominate a collective of 11 Afghan women for the 2021 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, according to a media report on Tuesday.
They are women activists, politicians, journalists and teachers who have been fighting for women’s rights, including in the fields of education and political participation, and were themselves part of the political and associative life in Afghanistan before the Taliban seized the control.
The S&Ds call on all other political groups in the European Parliament to unite behind this nomination. We must use all possible means to put the issue of Afghan women and girls high on the international agenda, to protect their rights and to protect the gains that were made for Afghan women in the last 20 years.
S&D President Iratxe García Pérez said: “We are firmly convinced that this year’s Sakharov Prize should honour the Afghan women who have been bravely fighting for equality and full enjoyment of human and fundamental rights, including promoting education and access to work and preventing gender-based violence, which includes unacceptable practices such as forced marriage.
“Our announcement today is a strong signal of support for all Afghan women, particularly affected by the Taliban’s takeover of the country and the humanitarian crisis. For the last 20 years, we have seen limited but concrete progress on women’s rights in Afghanistan. Now we are extremely worried that the Taliban, despite their promises, will reintroduce many of the oppressive rules we saw under their regime in the 1990s, when girls were barred from schools and women were prisoners in their own homes.
“We must make sure that this is not happening. That is why the S&Ds call for a strong human rights clause – and particularly for respect for women’s rights – to be attached to EU financial assistance for the country. The international community must demand concrete commitments regarding the safety and well-being of women and girls in talks with the Taliban.”
Among the candidates are former Human Rights Commission heads Shaharzad Akbar, Seema Samar, Palwasha Hassan, Zarifa Ghafari, Anesa Shaheed, Sahra Karimi, ferishta Karim, Horia Musadiq, Habiba Surabi, Mary Akrami and Matera Mehran.