The Special OSCE Asian Partners for Co-operation Group met today to discuss key aspects for ensuring women’s participation in political and public life. The meeting was convened by the Polish Chair of the Group.
The session particularly highlighted the critical human rights situation of women and girls in Afghanistan, which has worsened as a consequence of developments in the country. The marginalization of women from the public sphere and the denial of their rights to education, work, and freedom of movement results in grave long-term effects on the country’s development and prosperity. This poses significant risks to regional stability as the country’s capacity to cope with transnational threats deteriorates.
A stable Afghanistan, with an inclusive and representative government that respects and protects the rights of girls and women, is not only in the interest of the OSCE and its participating States but also of the whole international community.
“Among a plethora of human rights violations and abuses, the situation of women and girls stands out as particularly alarming. Women have been pushed away from the public sphere. They have been denied their rights to education, work, and freedom of movement. This does not only constitute a grave violation of basic human rights but also translates into a deplorable loss of human capital and creative potential in Afghanistan.”, said Ambassador Adam Hałaciński, Permanent Representative of Poland to the OSCE and Chair of the OSCE Asian Partners for Co-operation Group.
The meeting identified the main obstacles to women’s political and social engagement during crises in the context of the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, and further explored the direct impact this has on the human rights of women and girls in the country.
“The institutionalized and systemic exclusion of Afghan women and girls from public, social and economic life is a sobering reminder of how swiftly women’s and girls’ rights can be taken away. These severe violations of human rights erode also our collective security”, said OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid, “the OSCE will continue to continue to address the regional consequences of developments in Afghanistan and to support the courageous and inspiring women and girls who continue their resilient resistance and struggle for their human dignity”.
Participants drew on previous international responses to the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan and explored future initiatives aimed at improving women’s engagement in public and political life.
Fawzia Koofi, Former Member of the Parliament of Afghanistan added “What is happening in Afghanistan in fact does not happen anywhere in the world, without changing the political ecosystem of the situation in Afghanistan nothing will progress.”
The OSCE supports the Asian Partnership in its efforts to further promote common values in the international community and address the new challenges affecting European security and beyond.