Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Canadian-based NGO promoting women’s rights in Afghanistan

Even though circumstances for Afghan women have improved since the Taliban fell in 2001, major problems still remain. Canada’s The Province notes that “87 percent of women are illiterate; one in four faces a forced marriage and only one in three girls has access to education.”

“Violence against women is still a terrifying reality; the United Nations reported this month, with dozens of girls and women murdered by their own families,” the article adds. “This is not a reality that will change overnight, believes Palwasha Hasan, Canada’s Rights and Democracy Afghan director, but it will change.”

Thanks to a $5-million grant from the Canadian government, Hasan’s team is working to improve the rights of Afghan women through a specific focus on reforming family law and instituting the use of a national marriage contract throughout Afghanistan.

According to the article: “What is unusual about Hasan and her team is that all are Afghan. And there are an equal number of men working alongside women for women’s rights. This in a country that six short years ago was one of the most hostile in the world toward women, banning them from school and the workplace.”

Citing Hasan’s views, the article later adds: “Western experts who try within a short period of time to impose non-Afghan solutions are not helping Afghans rebuild their own country.

Afghan people are more receptive to change than many outside the country realize, but it is important not to flag issues as Western.”

Hasan says that women want greater freedom, highlighting the fact that 47 per cent of Afghans who voted in the country’s first election in 2004 were women.

For the full article, click here.


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