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The Prevention of Violence against Women and Femicide

Statement by H.E. Ayoob. M. Erfani Ambassador,
Permanent Representative of Afghanistan  
To the
UN & International Organizations –Vienna

At the panel of the conference on Leadership Challenges of the 21st Century: 
The Prevention of Violence against Women and Femicide

Vienna International Centre

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Madam moderator,

Distinguished panelists,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to thank organizers for initiating this important event, on the Prevention of Violence against Women and Femicide , which is an important subject for Afghanistan . The violence against women became a global challenge and requires global efforts based on the principle of shared responsibility by each individual country.

On behalf of Afghanistan, I express my sincere commitment to be a strong partner for the global efforts of the Prevention of Violence against Women and Femicide.

In my brief remarks I will share with you the current situation of Afghan women and our prospective for the future and will be happy respond to your questions.

Dear participants ,

The women of Afghanistan, who enjoyed their rights beginning form the 1920s under the rule of King Amanullah through the years of 60s & 70s, became the main victims of violence during the  years of conflict, particularly in the 1990s.  They lost their sons, daughters, husbands, brothers, and parents and became one of the targets of Taliban control and brutality in our country.  While for the last 12 years, Afghanistan has made significant progress on all social, economic, and political areas, and the situation for the women has been greatly improved, Afghanistan is still facing challenges and the future of Afghan women remains a soft target for these challenges.

We strongly believe that women in Afghanistan are our daughters, our wives, our sisters, our mothers, they are more then 50 % of overall population, we must engage and incorporate women in support of the broader social and economic development of our country.

Today Afghan women make up 27 percent of legislators in the Afghan Parliament( Upper and lower house),Women occupy one-fourth of government jobs, including nine percent at decision-making levels – ministers, deputy ministers, directors, a governor, a mayor, a district governor, an ambassador and other senior diplomats.

Girls make up about 40 percent of the more than 8 million children going to schools in Afghanistan today, a figure that was fewer than 1 million in 2001 – with no girls. 30 percent of school teachers and fifteen percent of university teachers are today women. Afghan women and girls today make up 24 percent of the health sector, 5 percent of the security sector, and 30 percent of the agriculture sector. Women made up 40 percent of voters in our last presidential elections in 2009. We have female pilots, army and police officers and professional martial artists. Women are at least a fifty percent force behind Afghanistan’s vibrant independent media and active civil society groups – both of which are among the most visible and concrete achievements of the past decade.

Number of laws and bills have been passed by President and parliament in protection and promotion of women in our country,offcourse the implementation of such laws and bill required more time and rescources,but government of Afghanistan is very much committed and trying with the great help of International community and civil society to implement and enforce such laws.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

After a decade of partnership with the international community we believe that the wish of Afghan people for full peace and enduring stability will become a reality as we will complete full Transition to Afghan responsibility and embark on the decade of Transformation.

Without full participation and active involvement of Afghan women, there is no guarantee for our successful journey toward national reconciliation, full transition and the Decade of Transformation.  The Government of Afghanistan is strongly committed to the equality in the rights of Afghan men and women based on the Constitution of Afghanistan and we have the obligation to protect the constitutional rights of our citizens, including women.

Based on the Constitution, the Afghan National Development Strategy (ANDS), MDGs, and the National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan 2008-2018 (NAPWA) as well Afghanistan’s international commitments, the government of Afghanistan just recently adopted the Anti – Harassment Policy Guideline.  The Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) has also been tasked to implement it nationwide and report to the government on progress and status.

Madam moderator,

We believe that violence against women in general and domestic violence in particular, stands in complete negation of our religion and the human rights that women are entitled to.  Domestic violence undermines love, passion and respect within families and rips apart the very fabric of a family life and values, and seriously affects the way its members – including the children -behave.

Both our religion and our culture in Afghanistan give tremendous respect to women and we are committed to work together – to ensure we live up to our values in this regard.

Recently, commemorating the day of celebration of march 8th in Kabul, President Karzai called on religious scholars and community leaders in the country – to help preach against domestic violence as a social menace contradictory to human rights and Islamic values.  The President called on mass media and radio in particular to broadcast programs – that help communicate messages against any form of domestic violence and discrimination against women.

Civil society organizations were vital in championing the draft of the Elimnation of Violence against women Law ( EVAW) enacted in 2009,curneltey a strong coalition of civil society gropus have been focused on providing training on the legal and civil rights of women as well as the relevance of the implementation of UN SCR 1325.

We look forward to continuing our work together in promoting these messages to prevent violence against women and encourage our governments and societies to ensure adequate protections and promotion are in place.

On behalf of Afghan people , in particular the Afghan women, I would like to thank all our friends and partners who spend their resources and sacrificed their lives to create an opportunity and a better future for Afghan women .

Thank you ,

and now I’m ready to answer your questions.