With increasing insecurity across Afghanistan, women human rights defenders are under threat more than ever before. Sign the petition to protect them.
“Every day when I leave home I think that I will not return alive and my children are scared as I am about a possible Taliban attack on me,” said Shah Bibi, Director of the Department of Women’s Affairs in Laghman province. Her two predecessors – Najia Sediqi and Hanifa Safi – were killed within the six months of each other in 2012.
In the last year alone, Amnesty International has recorded an alarming number of threats and attacks against Afghan women human rights defenders – both women and men who champion the rights of women and girls. And the risks to defenders in the north of the country increased considerably when the Taliban recaptured Kunduz province and surrounding areas in late September. There the Taliban carried out house-to-house searches, looking for women human rights defenders allegedly named on their “hit list”. Many managed to flee the city, while others who remained behind went into hiding in fear of being killed by the Taliban.
Defenders not only face threats and attacks from the Taliban, but also from powerful and conservative elements in society including members of the government and authorities, and even family members, who perceive their work as defying cultural, religious and socials norms concerning the role of women in society.
The pattern of abuse against women human rights defenders is matched by the systematic failure by the authorities to protect them and bring perpetrators to justice. The institutionalised indifference to their plight has resulted in a culture of impunity where perpetrators can literally get away with murder.
Your signature matters. Together, we can persuade the Afghan government to take measures to protect women human rights defenders.
Sign the petition at here.
This blog post is one of Amnesty International’s own: find it at the above link.