In addition to fundraising for our front line partners - with your help - one of our goals is to ensure that their voices are heard in the global community. With so much discussion of the Taliban takeover and the future for women and girls in Afghanistan, we felt it was important for Afghan women leaders to share their perspective and ensure that their voices are heard. Last week, in collaboration with Women for Afghan Women and the Roosevelt House Human Rights Program, we convened a virtual forum for global women leaders to meet with and hear from Afghan women.
Chaired by Margot Wallström, former Foreign Minister of Sweden, this Women's Forum on Afghanistan included a former president, ministers, ambassadors, high-level UN officials, judges, legislators, journalists, academics, artists, and human rights advocates, who expressed their solidarity with Afghan women (see video). Here is a link to the statement that came out of the meeting, signed by some - others were unable to sign for security reasons or because of their official positions.
This is a critical moment in history to stand up to the Taliban and all similar efforts around the world to deny women and girls their most basic human rights. Over a billion dollars of aid has been pledged to help the people of Afghanistan, and negotiations are underway with the Taliban on everything from security of international staff in the country to official recognition of the Taliban by the UN and governments. We must ensure that in all these decisions women, and particularly Afghan women, play a central role. The World Health Organization recently sent an all-male delegation to Afghanistan to meet with the Taliban. That is unacceptable.
We hope you will help spread the word - share on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) with the message that the Taliban should not be recognized until the Taliban recognizes the equal rights of women, and that all aid to Afghanistan should be delivered in a way that empowers rather than ignores Afghan women.
Despite the dangers, women and girls are demonstrating throughout the country. I want to share this inspiring video with you from one young Afghan woman. She is not alone, and they are not alone. We will stand with them every step of the way.
Thank you for your ongoing commitment to ending violence and discrimination against women, in Afghanistan and everywhere.