Security Imperils Voter Registration, Women Make Up 22% of Voters

The number of women registering to vote in Afghanistan’s upcoming elections has increased. However, according to the UN News Service, overall registration is still low. The Chairman of the Join Electoral Management Body, Zakim Shah, stated, “To achieve a representative government in Afghanistan, we have to work together as a whole nation, one in which women are an essential part of society.”

The latest figures show that 22 percent of the 320,770 Afghans registered are women. In mid-December only 70,000 people were registered of which 13 percent were women. According to the UN News Service, the number of women registered in Kabul is 20 percent, Bamiyan is 43 percent, Jalabad is 15 percent, Mazar is 24 percent, Kunduz is 17 percent, Kandahar is 21 percent, Gardez is 11 percent, and Herat is 30 percent. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) stated that once security conditions improve registration will be extended other areas of the country.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the outgoing United Nations Envoy in Afghanistan, recently stated that the lack of security in Afghanistan is a major challenge to implementing the agreement calling for elections in June. The Feminist Majority and other leading women’s rights and human rights organizations are calling for an expansion of ISAF in order to make enforcement of the constitution, women_s rights, human rights, and democracy possible.

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UN News Service 01/12/04; UN Wire 01/13/04; Associated Press 01/15/04

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