In the context of the current state of regime-change, as Nobel Peace Laureates, we share the concerns expressed around the world about the safety and well-being of the civilian population in Afghanistan, with special consideration for women leading in human rights defence, peace-building, civil society and journalism.
We strongly condemn all violations against the fundamental human rights of the people in this process and call upon all parties to cease hostilities. We demand the restoration of humanitarian access and the protection of humanitarian organizations and spaces. We ask that civilians be able to move freely in and out of the country without being harmed.
Women’s human rights must be protected in country, and when they are on the move, during evacuation and re-settlement processes.
We support the establishment of a United Nations mandated fact-finding mission in Afghanistan, as requested by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). The Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom (Afghanistan Section) has stated that the first priority of this mission should be an assessment of the security situation from an emergency humanitarian perspective in the understanding that the region is being further destabilized.
Like many in the international community we were disappointed with the weak response by the UN Human Rights Council during the special session held on August 24th and call upon this body to act with haste to protect civilians through the negotiation of a cease fire, the revival of the peace process, and by ensuring that resolutions relating to women, peace and security are fully implemented.
The UN HRC must act with urgency and moral clarity, taking bold and deliberate action to ensure that vulnerable people are shielded from harm. There must be no reprisals against women human rights defenders, feminist leaders or women civil society actors.
We agree with Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, that the Taliban’s treatment of women and girls represents a ‘red line”. This treatment will be a key indicator of their sincerity of their pledge to protect human rights.
We call for immediate and inclusive peace negotiations. Afghan women’s organizations are asking for not less than 40% representation of women peace activists, feminist groups, and women politicians. We support this call unequivocally.
In Afghanistan, as in conflict afflicted countries and regions throughout the world, there can be no just and durable state of peace without the leadership and on-going participation of women.
In advance of the resolution of these matters, we make an urgent appeal to President Joe Biden and all governments who have left civilians behind to do everything in their individual and collective power to ensure the safe evacuation and passage of those who were promised exit and those who choose to leave Afghanistan including women human rights defenders.
Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Laureate (2011) – Liberia
Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Laureate (2003) – Iran
Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Laureate (2011) – Yemen
Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Nobel Peace Laureate (1992) – Guatemala
Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate (1997) – USA