Afghanistan at a crossroads: Speakers tour

Emergencies, Women's rights article written on the 06 May 2014

This year will be one of rapid change in Afghanistan, as international military forces complete their withdrawal and Afghans await the final outcome of Presidential elections. Despite some important gains in women and girls’ access to education and health, almost 13 years since the fall of the Taliban the situation facing women and girls throughout the country remains dire.

Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries on earth, with astonishing rates of violence against women and ongoing impunity. Women are still absent from many aspects of public life, including in the Afghan police force where only 1% of police officers are women.  While female police are vital for Afghan women to be able to report crimes and access desperately-needed justice, few women in Afghanistan have ever encountered one.

Australia has made an enormous investment in Afghanistan over the past decade, and has a clear stake and responsibility to ensure that the country has a safe and prosperous future – particularly for women and girls.

To discuss these issues Oxfam is bringing out to Australia three fascinating Afghan leaders working to advance women’s protection and rights:

  • Colonel Najibullah Samsour, Chief of District 10 Police, Afghan Police Force – who has been a strong supporter of human rights, police reforms and women’s leadership.
  • Ms Zulaikha Rafiq, Director of the Afghan Women Educational Center (AWEC) – an organisation promoting human rights, peacebuilding and providing education services to women and girls throughout Afghanistan.  
  • Mr Mohammad Sharif, Policy and Advocacy Officer at Oxfam in Afghanistan – who manages Oxfam’s national advocacy work on human rights and humanitarian issues.

They will be speaking at two public events:

Sydney

Oxfam and Amnesty International present Afghanistan at a Crossroads – a vibrant discussion on how women’s rights can be strengthened in Afghanistan’s next chapter

Hosted by former SBS World News presenter Mary Kostakidis and including panel discussion with Amnesty International Australia’s campaigner on Afghan Women’s Rights, Ming Yu.

Thursday 15 May, 6pm
Parramatta Town Hall
182 Church St, Parramatta NSW

Melbourne

Oxfam-Monash Partnership event. Supported by the Castan Centre. Afghanistan at a Crossroads – a discussion on the issues facing Afghan women and girls and the role Australia can play

Hosted by Helen Szoke, Oxfam Australia’s CEO and Professor Jacqui True, Monash University

Friday 16 May, 5 for 5.30pm start
Castan Centre for Human Rights Law
7/30 Collins St, Melbourne
Canapés and drinks to be served afterwards

The aim of this speaking tour is to raise public awareness about the situation facing Afghan women and girls and call on Australia to continue to invest long-term in women’s development, security and human rights in Afghanistan.

Melbourne

Oxfam and Diaspora Action Australia presents Afghanistan at a Crossroads – a discussion on the future of human rights in Afghanistan

Saturday 17th May
Time: 10am – 12pm
Where: 200 Thomas St, Dandenong VIC 3175
For more information and to RSVP contact: communityengagement@crisishub.org.au

Find out more: www.oxfam.org.au/tag/afghanistan