Afghan Women Demand Rights In Kabul and Herat

Hundreds of women and girls took to the streets in Kabul to demand the right to work, the right to education, and the right to political representation. The women, led by Saraya Parlika, Chairwoman of the General Coalition of Women, a 100-member human rights organization formed in secret in 1996, abandoned their burqas to march to the United Nations office. The march, however, was cut short by the Northern Alliance, which claimed that the march may have posed security issues. The women though were undaunted and vowed to march again next week.

On the same day, about sixty women in Herat met with Ismail Khan, the new self-proclaimed governor general of the region, to demand the that educational facilities for girls be reopened and that women’s rights be reinstated immediately. Sina Karamzedeh, a young Afghan woman explained, “We want to be free when we go to school. We don’t want to wear the burqa.” Khan has declared his support of women’s rights and girls’ education, but the Afghan women have yet to see results. Schools are still closed and not enough money has been allocated to rebuild girls’ schools destroyed by the Taliban. The meeting with Khan resulted in the creation of a committee of five women responsible for urging women’s rights.


New York Times, 11/21/01; Reuters, 11/20/01

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