Hello Dear ROOM,
I am writing this email to tell you about our meeting yesterday with IPA subcommittee at the U.N. We talked about women’s situation in Afghanistan and they talked about my writing which is published in ROOM 6.23.
They mentioned that my writing in ROOM 6.23 helped them. They also said that they will have programs for women in Afghanistan and we will work together on that.
I want to thank you again for helping me with publishing my letter and helping Afghan women.
Shegofa Shahbaz from Afghanistan – Speech to the UN committee
I remember my school memories, one day our writing teacher asked us to write our goals. We were 34 girls with 34 goals in our class. All of us had written our dreams in our notebooks. On that day when all of us read our writings in class we all imagined ourselves as tomorrow’s doctors, teachers, engineers, and leaders. There was no one among us who wanted not to continue her studies after graduating from school, there was no one among us to be a housewife. We dreamed of becoming strong and independent women in the future. We drew our goals in white papers and thought that they will happen in real life. We used to call each other Doctor Zahra, Engineer Yasmin, Writer Parween and other prefixes according to every person’s dream, unaware that one day those dreams would be destroyed.
When the Taliban took over Afghanistan on 15th August 2021, the page of Afghanistan’s history returned back 20 years and for the second time Afghanistan became a cage for Afghan women and girls. The fall of Afghanistan to the hands of the Taliban was the start of dark days in Afghanistan, not only for women and girls but also for democratic people. In the past 20 years, conditions for women had improved, although there was discrimination against women all over Afghanistan, we had strong leaders and active women in every sector in the country. But, when the Taliban came to the power, they started implementing extremist Talibanist rules, and now, women in Afghanistan do not have basic human rights. They don’t have the right to go to school and university. They are not allowed to work outside of the home. They are not allowed to go to parks. They do not even the right to live like humans.
We are in contact with people who are living in Afghanistan, they are telling that the Taliban commit inhuman actions against people of Afghanistan. The Taliban took women from streets to prisons for different excuses like hijab or talking to a man. They sexually abuse women in the prisons. But people can’t raise their voice because if they raise their voice they will be punished by the Taliban. Women’s protest lawsuits have always been subjected to violence by the Taliban. The Taliban threatened women that if they raise their voice they will be punished and they have punished many women who raised their voices.
It has been two years since the Taliban took over Afghanistan. The restrictions against women are increasing day by day. We witnessed the mysterious murders and suicide of women in many provinces of Afghanistan. And recently the number of suicides of women has increased dramatically.
What is going on in Afghanistan is a complete disaster, but the countries that always consider themselves human right definers and the world have remained silent. They are just spectators of this destruction.
We really didn’t expect the world to be silent. But we still hope that the United Nations and powerful countries take some necessary actions against this disaster. We request human right organizations around the world to break this silence. We want the United Nations not to recognize the Taliban but recognize gender apartheid in Afghanistan.
We want powerful countries to put pressure on the Taliban to give women the right to educate, work, and live like humans.
Let us not allow oppression to dominate the world.
- Shegofa Shahbaz is a university student. She was the director of an organization in Afghanistan with programs for women’s and girls’ empowerment, but when the Taliban took over Afghanistan, that program could not continue, and she fled Afghanistan.
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