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From the Table at Bonn to the Summit in Brussels,  Afghan Women Lead the Way               FIF

Published: Tuesday, December 04, 2001

Fifty Afghan Women Leaders to gather at historical 'Afghan Women's Summit' in Brussels December 4-5

In response to the request from women of Afghanistan for support and solidarity, the European Women's Lobby, Equality Now, V-Day, the Center for Strategic Initiatives of Women, and the Feminist Majority are hosting an Afghan Women's Summit for Democracy. The Summit will be held at the European Commission in Brussels from Tuesday - Wednesday, December 4-5, in collaboration with the U.N. Gender Advisor to the Secretary-General and UNIFEM. Fifty Afghan women leaders, broadly representative of women in Afghanistan, will take part in the summit, which will bring the voices of Afghan women into the current international political discourse, ensuring that their message is heard.

Three of the Summit participants: Sima Wali, primary Afghan organizer of the Summit, along with Seddige Balkhi and Amini Afzali, will come directly from Bonn where they are now serving as delegates. The Summit will be chaired by Judge Navanethem Pillay, South African President of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

The Summit is designed to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women and Peace and Security. Adopted last year, the resolution reaffirmed the importance of the equal participation and full involvement of women in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and the need to increase their role in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution.

Following the Summit, a delegation of Afghan women from the meeting will carry the message of the Summit throughout the world. Their first stop is a scheduled meeting with the European Parliament on Thursday, December 6th, from 9:00AM-12:00PM. The delegation is also expected to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and the U.N. Security Council in the following weeks.

Afghan Participants:

These extraordinary women, who hail from different ethnic, linguistic, and religious backgrounds, have held Afghan civil society together against all odds. They include educators, health care providers, political activists, and others who have shown their commitment and leadership in grassroots efforts. Participating Afghan women will come from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, the Central Asian Republics, the United States, Canada and Europe and all affirm their commitment to democracy and women's rights.

Supporting Speakers and Supporters:

Women leaders from around the world will also be present in solidarity. The supporting speakers, participants and convening groups will help carry the message of the Afghan women back to their own countries and help ensure that Afghan women are represented in conflict resolution efforts and the ongoing dialogue for peace.

Confirmed speakers and participants include:

  • Anna Diamantopoulou, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs
  • Eve Ensler, Artistic Director and Founder V-Day, Playwright "The Vagina Monologues"
  • Denise Fuchs, President of the European Women's Lobby
  • Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Director, United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)
  • Asma Jahangir, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary and Summary Executions
  • Asma Khader, Board of Directors Equality Now
  • Angela King, Assistant Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, United Nations
  • Laurette Onkelinx, Belgian Presidency, Belgian Minister for Employment and Equality
  • Hibaaq Osman, Founding Director Center for Strategic Initiatives of Women
  • Mary Robinson, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Maj Britt Theorin, Chair of the Women's Rights Committee in the European Parliament