Support the Campaign in Defense of Afghan Women
Special Campaign Issue
December 29, 2022
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Support the International Campaign in Defense of Afghan Women – Endorse the Appeal Today!
Dear sisters and brothers,
We call upon you to support the Appeal of the International Committee in Defense of Afghan Women — a committee that was formed October 29 at the International Working Women’s Conference in Paris, France. The committee was formed in response to an appeal issued at the conference by the Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women. It was formed with the following objectives:
(1) Request support from major international organizations defending women’s rights and human rights in order to identify women imprisoned in official and private Taliban prisons; (2) Launch an international campaign for the release of protesting women from Taliban prisons: (3) Lobby for the protection of wanted and endangered women in Afghanistan; (4) Create international women’s solidarity with the courageous women fighters in Afghanistan; (5) Collect financial aid for the families of imprisoned and wanted women.
Join us in supporting the demands of the “Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women.” Make the cause of Afghan women known; it is the cause of women and workers all over the world. Their struggle is our struggle!
Please find below the Endorsement Coupon, the committee Appeal, and Communiqués of the International Committee in Defense of Afghan Women.
Thank you in advance for your support,
Convener of the U.S. delegation to the International Working Women’s Conference (Paris October 29, 2022)
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I publicly endorse the International Appeal of the International Committee in Defense of Afghan Women.
[ ] In my personal capacity (list title for id only)
[ ] On behalf on my organization
Organization and Title:
Fill out Coupon to be returned to:
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International Committee to Defend Afghan Women
The Crimes of the Taliban and the Complicity of the “International Community”
A statement by the Spontaneous Afghan Women’s Movement
On the occasion of December 10, International Human Rights Day, the Afghan Women’s Spontaneous Movement expresses its deep concern over the increasing violation of the rights of men and women in Afghanistan . … It is unfortunate that the so-called “international community” is ignoring the daily crimes and human rights violations in Afghanistan for political considerations and strategic interests. It sheds crocodile tears, merely “condemning” and “expressing concern.”
On December 8, the Taliban whipped 18 men and nine women in front of thousands of people in the stadium in Parwan province. The victims were sentenced to whipping without due process, without lawyers, in defiance of the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and human dignity. On the same day, three more people were publicly flogged in Paktika province. And on December 6, in the presence of senior Taliban officials, a young man was publicly executed in the name of Sharia law in a stadium in Farah province.
With their acts of cruelty, the Taliban have sent a message to the world that this extremist group obeys no laws, principles or values, and that symbolic pressure from the “international community” does not prevent any of their acts. With the weapons left behind by the United States and NATO after 20 years of occupation and $40 million in weekly financial aid from the “international community,” the Taliban kill, torture and humiliate the Afghan people and women every day in public. They want to discourage the population from any will to protest and resist. …
According to the World Food Program, 89% of the Afghan population is facing food shortages. Families are selling their children to survive. Recent Gallup research shows that 98% of women and 97% of men consider their lives to be in great pain. The suicide rate among women has increased, and more than 20 million people are hungry . …
The Taliban should know that history has shown that the more oppression, injustice and lawlessness increase in a country, the more its leaders dig their own graves. The oppressed people and disenfranchised women of Afghanistan will never bow to the brutal atrocities and misogynistic laws of the Taliban and will resist.
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They formed the International Committee in Defense of Afghan Women
We, the delegates to the International Working Women’s Conference, held on 29 October 2022, having received the message of the Spontaneous Afghan Women’s Movement addressed to our conference, decide to form an International Committee in Defense of Afghan Women who are demonstrating against the regime.
The message describes the persecution of Afghan women by the Taliban regime as well as the protests against the regime by women targeted by these attacks.
We hereby decide to make the message of our Afghan sisters widely known in our respective countries, particularly the six demands that appear in the conclusion of this text (see below). In order to implement the demands that they have put before us, we call on all women and men committed to the defense of democratic and women’s rights to join the international committee in order to organise the campaign.
ALGERIA: HAFSI Nadia. • BELGIUM: AIME Emilie,teacher; DARMONT Eléonore, student; K. Olga, social worker. • BENIN: GNONLONFOUN Liliane, trade unionist. • CHILE: LAPERTE Marcela, Independent Movement for the Rights of the People (MIDP) • FRANCE: KEISER Christel, POID national secretary; BAHLOUL Maïa, student, FJR (Federation of Young Revolutionaries); TIZZI Djemilla, trade unionist and POID member; MAS Nicole, member of the POID national bureau; ADOUE Camille, student, FJR member; LISCOËT Catherine, retired, member of the POID national bureau; DUPUY Martine, national secretary of the POID; MICHAUD Isabelle, CGT trade unionist; TEMPEREAU Lucile, young worker and POID member; SAUVAGE Jeanne, professor and researcher; FAURY Stéphanie, CGT-union officer at the Nemours hospital, South 77 Hospital Centre; ROUDIL Isabelle, trade union officer in social work; CORBEX Pascal, trade union officer in social work; FAUCHEUX Patrice, trade unionist; ANANOU Sarah ; ANDERSON Amy; THRONE Stella. • GERMANY: ALBERT Lara, member of Die Linke, IG Metall trade unionist; SCHADE Vera, member of Die Linke. • HAÏTI: THELOT Myrlène, Haïti Liberté. • HUNGARY: SOMI Judit, working-class activist. • ITALY: GRILLI Monica, teacher, delegate and trade union leader; PANTELLA Agata, teacher. • MOROCCO: LAMINE Sakina. • MEXICO: DIAZ CRUZ Maria de Lourdes, Movimiento Nacional por la transformacion Petrolera; ORTEGA Marisela, Political Institute of political education of MORENA; PLUMEDA Liliana Aguilar, Internationalist Communist League; SUAREZ Lidia, Professor National Teachers University. • PAKISTAN: JAMIL Rubina, All Pakistan Trade Union Federation. • PHILIPPINES: MIRANDA Judy Ann, Workers’ Party (PM). • ROMANIA: CRETAN Marioara, League of Romanian Workers. • SPANISH STATE: MARTIN Reme, retired, working-class activist • UNITED STATES: BACCHUS Natalia, assistant to the President, Baltimore Teachers Union (Maryland)*; BROWN Diamonte, President, Baltimore Teachers Union (AFT, AFL-CIO) (Maryland)*; KHONSARI Niloufar, lawyer and immigrant workers’ rights activist; KNOX Lisa, lawyer and immigrant workers’ rights activist; ROJAS Désirée, President of the Sacramento Chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (AFL-CIO)*; SHONE Mya, Socialist Organizer. • TURKEY: EROL Pinar, Executive committee member of Workers’ Own Party (IKEP).
* In a personal capacity.
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IN DEFENSE OF AFGHAN WOMEN
COMMUNIQUÉ No. 1 – NOVEMBER 26, 2022
Dear friends and comrades,
A month ago, on the occasion of the International Conference of Working Women, which brought together women and political and trade union activists from 18 countries (Algeria, Belgium, Benin, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Haiti, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Romania, Spain, Turkey and the United States), and responding positively to the call of the Spontaneous Afghan Women’s Movement, we set up the International Committee in DefenSe of Afghan Women.
The aim of this international committee, as requested by our sisters in Afghanistan, is to support these women and girls who, at the risk of their lives, are demonstrating for the reopening of schools closed to them by the Taliban regime, for the right to work, and for the respect of their most basic rights. It is about fighting against the ferocious repression of which they are victims: assassinations, torture, arrests and disappearances – all this in the complicit silence of the governments of the major powers. They demand “Bread, work, and freedom”. Hundreds of you have already joined our committee around the world, from South Africa to Great Britain, from Turkey to France: women workers, teachers, lawyers, trade unionists, writers, artists, activists, etc.
In this first communiqué, we publish two exceptional documents that have arrived from Kabul: two communiqués from the Spontaneous Afghan Women’s Movement of 11 and 18 November, and photos of the meetings they have held in Kabul in recent days.
Join us, make the cause of Afghan women known, it is the cause of women and workers all over the world.
General Secretary of the All Pakistan Trade Union Federation (Pakistan)
National Secretary of the Independent and Democratic Workers’ Party (France)
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Statement of the Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women (November 18, 2022- Kabul, Afghanistan)
« The women and girls of Afghanistan want bread, work, freedom, school, and education! »
Report on Afghan women’s protest meeting condemning arbitrary arrests and kidnapping of female activists.
On November 18, hundreds of women in the provinces of Kabul, Herat, Laghman, and Balkh planned to protest against the arrest and kidnapping of women by the police and intelligence of the Taliban, but the Taliban did not allow them. They were forced to express their objections through the meetings inside a house and convey their voice of oppression to the people of Afghanistan and the world.
Here, we share with you a summary of Ms. Z.Ozra’s speech, the representative of the Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women at a meeting held in Kabul:
“Dear friends and sisters,
The sisters gathered here wanted to launch a demonstration today in District 12 of Kabul, where other sisters, mainly teachers, feminists, women’s rights activists and mothers of students, were also expected to participate. Unfortunately, the Taliban once again treated women brutally. They suppressed our demonstration and did not allow it. In the same way, some sisters who demonstrated in the cities of Jalalabad, Herat, Mehtarlam Baba and Balkh were beaten and threatened with weapons, and some were imprisoned.
But I would like to emphasize and tell the Taliban that they cannot silence our voices. The women and girls of Afghanistan want bread, work, freedom, school, and education. We do not want to be treated as animals, we cannot tolerate gender-based violence and sexual apartheid against women. We are determined to continue our protests and struggle in any form. We are not afraid of Taliban threats, prison and death.
We expect human rights organizations, women’s rights defender, and feminist activists to support the oppressed women of Afghanistan against the misogynistic Taliban regime and not leave us alone in this tough struggle.
• BREAD! WORK! FREEDOM!
• Free all the imprisoned women!
• All girls’ schools must be opened immediately!
• End the violence against women!”
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End the suppression and detention of protesting women!
Following the series of threats, arrests, torture and killing of protesting women in Kabul and other provinces of Afghanistan, on November 8, 2022 Ms. Farhat Popalzai, one of the active members of the Afghan women’s protesting movement, was arrested by the Taliban intelligence in Kabul, and so far there is no news about her fate.
According to the report of BBC Dari, quoted by Maryam Naibi a colleague of Farhat Popalzai, her phone has been switched off since 2 o’clock on Tuesday, and the contact with Ms. Farhat has been cut off. The Taliban security forces and the Kabul police, as always, deny the arrest of Mrs. Popalzai, but the fact is that the intelligence services of the Taliban, hide arbitrary arrests and prevent national and international protests against their brutal treatment against women; they cannot tolerate the political, civil and peaceful struggles of Afghan women.
Meanwhile, human rights organizations report the arrests of Ms. Ozra, Ms. Parwana, Ms. Farzia, Ms. Safia, Ms. Roheena, Ms. Asia, Ms. Zarmineh, Ms. Mahtab, Ms. Laila, Ms. Bibi Shaima, Ms. Parvin, Ms. Brishna, Ms. Tarana, Ms. Bibi Lima, Ms. Marzia, and Ms. Shagofa in the provinces of Kabul, Herat, Laghman, and Takhar. According to their families, the mentioned activists, feminists and teachers were arrested by the Taliban and taken to unknown places in October and November on charges of participating in women’s demonstrations and street protests.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesperson of the Taliban, considers the struggle and resistance of the protesting women to be the plan of foreign countries in order to discredit the Taliban government and warns that they will not allow any movement that contradicts the Islamic laws.
It should be remembered that on November 3rd Ms. Zarifa Yaqoubi and four of her colleagues were arrested during the press conference in west of Kabul city, their families still do not know about their condition. The United Nations delegation in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and human rights organizations and women’s rights defenders inside and outside Afghanistan demanded the immediate release of Ms. Yaqoubi and all imprisoned women.
In addition to the official prisons, the Taliban have many private prisons where they torture and keep opponents and women protesters without contact with their families, human rights organizations, or access to a defense lawyer.
The Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women by condemning the arrest of protesting women and inhumane treatment with them, calls on all women’s rights organizations and individuals to put pressure on the misogynist Taliban regime to stop the arrests and torture of protesting women and for the immediate release of Ms. Zarifa Yaqoubi and her colleagues, Ms. Popelzi and dozens of other protesting women in the terrible prisons of the Taliban, they are expected to declare their solidarity and stand by the women of Afghanistan.
The Taliban must know that by suppressing and imprisoning, torturing and killing women, they cannot silence the freedom and equality voice of Afghan women. The “Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women”, as an independent women’s movement in Afghanistan, in coordination with other Afghan women’s groups, continues to struggle for freedom, civil rights and the right to life of Afghan women.
— Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women. November 11, 2022, Kabul, Afghanistan.
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Message of the “Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women” to the International Conference of Working Women
Today, Afghan women live under the most misogynistic regime, where they are deprived of all their human and civil rights. For this reason, Afghan women activists formed their own protest movement after the Taliban rule in August 2021, which has been organizing women’s protests in the cities of Kabul, Jalalabad, Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif and Bamiyan with the slogans (bread, work, freedom).
When women protest and demonstrate against the violation of their rights, the Taliban police brutally suppress them, beat them and threaten them with prison and death. Taliban security forces prevent journalists from filming, taking pictures and reporting the Taliban’s violent behavior with protesting women.
Taliban intelligence identifies women activists and participants in demonstrations, arrests them during demonstrations, at the end of protests or later from their homes and imprisons and tortures them in their official or private prisons. (The new report of the United Nations September 2022: confirms the existence of private Taliban prisons and the torture of prisoners)
The Taliban usually attack the houses of protesting women at night, after arresting them, they transfer them to unknown places and then deny the responsibility of the arrest and attack. It is not known how many women protesters and freedom fighters are imprisoned in the official and private prisons of the Taliban and in what condition they are. Because domestic and foreign human rights organizations and the families of prisoners do not have access to them. Some women who were released from Taliban prisons spoke of torture, sexual assault, threats to kill family members, lack of access to a lawyer, and lack of communication with family members.
In addition to dozens of women fighters and protesters who are in terrible Taliban prisons, or tens of others who have been killed by people affiliated with the Taliban, there are currently hundreds of other fighting women as socialist, secular, feminist, civil society activists, women’s rights defenders, journalists, teachers, university and high school students, and housewives under the prosecution of the Taliban and they are forced to live in hiding. While the intelligence of the Taliban is in control of all the cities and regions of Afghanistan, it is possible to identify their whereabouts at any moment, and for this reason, the lives of wanted protesting women are in serious danger.