Press Releases

     

    AFG/185
    PI/1400
    WOM/1318
    31 January 2002

    Solidarity and Support for Afghan Women Expressed in Statement by Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women


    NEW YORK, 30 January (UN Headquarters) -- The 23 members of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women –- the treaty body charged with the monitoring of the human rights of women and girls in the 168 States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women -- have drafted a statement of solidarity with the women of Afghanistan. The statement has been transmitted to Afghanistan's interim leader Hamid Karzai, through the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi.

    The twenty-sixth session of the Committee, which has been meeting at United Nations Headquarters since 14 January, has been considering the reports of eight States parties to the Convention. The statement of solidarity will be contained in the final report of the meeting, which is expected to be adopted on the last day of the session on Friday, 1 February.

    After the Taliban took over Kabul in 1996, the international community was dismayed to learn of the severe limitations being placed on Afghan women and girls, the first victims of Taliban rule. In 1996, the then Chairperson of the Committee, Ivanka Corti (Italy), was among those who expressed their alarm at reports that women in Afghanistan were being denied access to education and employment.

    Today, as international efforts are under way for the reconstruction and development of war-torn Afghanistan, the members of the Committee, headed by Chairperson Charlotte Abaka (Ghana), have expressed their solidarity with, and support to, the women of that country. The statement emphasizes the importance of the equal participation of men and women during reconstruction, and expresses the Committee’s hope for adherence to women’s rights during the process.

    The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, an expert body established in 1982, is composed of 23 experts on women's issues from around the world. The experts, who serve in their personal capacities, monitor the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which was adopted by the General Assembly in 1979 and which came into force in 1981. The Convention, which as of 1 December 2001 had been ratified or acceded to by 168 countries, requires States parties to eliminate discrimination against women in the enjoyment of all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

    The text of the statement follows.

    Solidarity with Afghan Women

    1. On the occasion of its twenty-sixth session, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women fully expresses its solidarity with, and support for, the women of Afghanistan.

    2. Afghan women have suffered for a considerable time every privation known to humankind, losing all their fundamental human rights, particularly the right to life, education, health and work.

    3. The participation of Afghan women as full and equal partners with men is essential for the reconstruction and development of their country.

    4. The Committee welcomes the resolve of the international community to assist in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, and calls upon all parties concerned to respect internationally recognized principles, norms and standards of human rights, particularly the human rights of women which are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights, in all their actions and activities. The Committee considers this essential to achieve peace and stability in the country.

    5. The Committee expresses its hope that the human rights of women as provided in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women signed by Afghanistan in 1980, will guide all actions in both the public and private spheres.

    For further information, please contact Elisabeth Ruzicka-Dempsey, Development and Human Rights Section, United Nations Department of Public Information, tel.: (212) 963-1742, fax: (212) 963-1186, e-mail: ruzicka-dempsey@un.org.

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