As the Taliban puts aid workers on trial for “proselytizing Christianity” and Afghan refugees off the coast of Australia finally gain asylum in New Zealand and other countries, Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal calls attention to gender apartheid in Afghanistan in a letter to the editor in today’s New York Times. Smeal focuses on the Taliban’s horrific treatment of women and girls, as well as their targeting of ethnic and religious minorities in Afghanistan, and calls on the United States and the United Nations to pressure Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates to withdraw their support of the Taliban.
In other news, the world is finally responding to the refugee crisis off the coast of Australia where refugees have now been moved to an Australian navy vessel that can better serve the needs of the large group. New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark announced this weekend that her nation would accept 150 of the 450 refugees – most of them from Afghanistan – awaiting asylum aboard a ship in Australian waters. The island republic of Nauru will accept the other 300 people temporarily. They will be resettled to other countries, which may include Australia, Norway, and Canada, although Australian Prime Minister John Howard is still determined to keep the refugees off Australian soil, despite public outcry against his position. Clark is now appealing to the UN for more financial support for the 3.6 million Afghan refugees living in Pakistan and other nations around the world.
If you are outraged by the Taliban’s brutal system of gender apartheid, ethnic genocide, and religious intolerance, join the Feminist Majority’s Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan