We, the Ambassadors representing the European Union and its Member States in Afghanistan, wish to mark the International Women's Day by this message to the women of Afghanistan.
Since 2001, the situation of women in the country has tremendously improved but it still remains a matter where we must together press for further progress. Afghan women in all walks of life face discrimination and violence, a situation which has been aggravated by large scale terrorist attacks and criminal activities. The Kabul Process conference last week has gone further than other initiatives to advance the aspirations for peace in Afghanistan. In the course of the peace process, special attention needs to be paid to safeguarding achievements made in the field of women’s rights in recent years.
As we move forward together towards peace, we want therefore to express our solidarity and our determination to continue working for the women of Afghanistan.
The EU Strategy for Afghanistan, adopted in October 2017, pays a special attention to women in various critical fields. This includes supporting the implementation of the National Action Plan for the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, the Women's Economic Empowerment National Priority Programme and the Citizen's Charter. With equal attention, we advocate an increase in the number of special court divisions on violence against women in the country and the promulgation of measures aimed at combating sexual harassment.
Women of Afghanistan already demonstrate the contribution they are bringing to the development of their country; it is obvious in so many fields, from the economy to politics. To further develop the role of women in building their country's future, it is of high importance that education leaves no girl or woman behind. This is a dimension where the EU will continue to support the efforts of the government and other relevant stakeholders. Health and justice are two other pivotal sectors where the right of women to equal treatment cannot be compromised.
2018 and 2019 will be two important election years in Afghanistan .Be it as a candidate, voter or staff member of the election commissions, women must be fully acknowledged as citizens whose rights are equal to men's.
We feel inspired by the courage, competence and commitment shown by women of this country as illustrated by the recent creation of an Afghanistan Women's Chamber of Commerce and numerous other active business associations supporting women's empowerment, a growing number of women politicians and high ranking civil servants, members of the Security Forces and successes in many fields such as arts and sports that have received an international accolade.
The EU in Afghanistan therefore considers that working for women is among the most important and relevant actions we could possibly undertake. We wish this message of encouragement will reach not only the women but also the men of Afghanistan.
Pierre Mayaudon, Ambassador of European Union
Petr Stepanek, Ambassador of Czech Republic
Walter Hassmann, Ambassador of Germany
Jakob Brix Tange, Ambassador of Denmark
Emilio Pérez de Ágreda, Ambassador of Spain
Hannu Ripatti, Ambassador of Finland
François Richier, Ambassador of France
Roberto Cantone, Ambassador of Italy
Geoffrey van Leeuwen, Ambassador of Netherlands
Radu Gimbutan, Head of Mission of Romania
Tobias Thyberg, Ambassador of Sweden
Sir Nicholas Kay, Ambassador of United Kingdom