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Shaharzad Akbar - Sakharov Prize finalist 2021, Chair of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Yesterday a two-day event (1-2/2) dedicated to Afghan women, strongly encouraged

by the President David Sassoli, started at the European Parliament. Following the

Taliban's seizure of power of August 2021, women in Afghanistan have seen their

rights destroyed in a process that aims at removing them from all aspects of social

life. They are no longer allowed to work or study. They are forced to live in someone

else's shadow. But Afghan women are strong and courageous, and they are

demonstrating it with all their strength in these days in Brussels, where in the last

months they had already made their voice heard as finalists for the Sakharov Prize


Many women eager to fight for their rights have spoken and will speak during this

series of debates, which has been opened by a speech of President Roberta Metsola

followed by a touching message from UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie.

Among them was Sima Samar, former Minister for Women's Affairs, who highlighted

the need to actively involve Afghan women in the process of rebuilding an

acceptable level of respect for human rights that the international community has

shown its willingness to implement.

Amina Mohammedi, UN Deputy Secretary-General, also made her voice heard in the

hemicycle, emphasising the close connection between the condition of women and

the state of health of a nation.

The Afghan singer-songwriter Aryana Sayeed then performed her song "Lady of the

Land of Fire", powerfully expressing the profound dignity and unstoppable desire of

Afghan women to assert themselves even in a context of extreme hostility.

And then, to mention some of the other women who spoke, Setara Hassan, Hoda

Khamosh, and Shaharzad Akbar, finalist for the Sakharov Prize 2021 and Chair of the

Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, which the Taliban have dismantled

in the context of a violent repression of the activities of human rights defenders in

Afghanistan. To Shaharzad, whom we hosted as a speaker at the conference Fight

Impunity dedicated to Afghan women last October, we had the honour to present our new Report on Global Rights "The State of Impunity in the World - Another

World is Possible".

We are therefore pleased that our wish, presented during the above-mentioned

conference dating back to October, to encourage the creation of a support network

for Afghan women inside and outside the country has begun to find concrete

expression within the institutions. Fight Impunity will continue to follow this path,

which aims at defending the dignity and rights of Afghan women.

Please find below the link to follow the debates that will take place today:

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