The safety of female Loya Jirga participants
is in danger!
The interim government established after United States´ attack on Afghanistan can not, in practice, protect its people. Backed by the international society, it is instead devoting its time to horse-trading with fundamentalistic groups, such as Mujahedin Islami, Jihad Islami, Jimiyat Islami, among others. These groups have been involved in violent fights with each other for many years, which has caused great suffering among the civilian population.
On the 15th of December, 2003, 502 delegates gathered in Kabul to participate in Loya Jirga, where Afghanistan´s new constitution shall be passed. The majority of the representatives has been chosen by the Afghan population, and 50 delegates have been appointed by the President himself. Already at an early stage, international supervisors warned that local warlords would try to deter the popularly elected representatives from participating in Loya Jirga. Despite the prevailing threatening picture, the delegates gathered and the discussions began.
In order to facilitate the work, the representatives were divided into ten groups. According to a proposal from the chairman of Loya Jirga, Mojadedi in Dari, a mullah was to lead the work in each of the groups. One of the youngest female participants, Malalai Joya, opposed this proposal and meant that several of these fundamentalistic leaders are war criminals who should be put on trial instead of exerting influences on the formulation of the new constitution. After having expressed her views, Malalai Joya was excluded from the convention at the request of the chairman. At the same time, other delegates uttered death threats against her, and she was accused of being, among other things, a communist and an atheist. Several delegates did however express their support for the young woman. For example, 40 female delegates turned to the chairman and demanded that Malalai should participate in Loya Jirga during the remainder of the time. Thanks to the appeal of these women and to international pressure, Malalai Joya was again admitted into the convention. She is however protected by staff from the UN, and, for safety reasons, she is not staying with the other delegates during the remainder of Loya Jirga.
This is only one example of how criticism put against the fundamentalists´ powers by strong men and women in Afghanistan is being suppressed.
Women´s network support these courageous Afghans that are fighting for the rights of every man and woman, despite an energetic resistance. We encourage everyone to take action in order to prevent them from being set aside by conservative powers.