She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.
She says: “I look with pride at the Afghan women’s participation in the Presidential elections. This is an indication that our decades-long efforts have not been brought to naught”.
She says also: “The protests of women against inequality are considered immoral, and it is considered immoral if she embraces the rule of law, travels to another country, or removes the veil. A woman is considered virtuous if she is silent and submissive, and remains in her role as a tool of procreation and pleasure for the man. Only in her role of taking care of her family is she considered good”.
And she says: “In the Koran, women have their own place, but fundamentalist warlords abuse their power. They do not accept the Koran’s law or even the national law. Girls are married very young, sometimes when still in their mother’s womb, sometimes to very old men. Before she can breathe the air, she’s a prisoner. To marry by her will is considered immoral, like prostitution”.
Read: Initial General Assembly of Civil Society & Human Rights Network CSHRN Kabul, 9th August 2004.
Suraya Parlika – Afghanistan
Excerpt: … “We fought with our lives to get women’s rights into our constitution. Forty-two percent of women voted.” In the new constitution, women have equal rights with men; but the law has not changed the way women are treated.
She was awarded the Medal of Honor from Afghan President Hamid Karzai after receiving the maximum number of votes, more than any other of the 500 delegates representing the Loya Jirga.
“If I am elected to the Senate, I will be a voice in parliament against the oppression Afghan women are suffering,” she said. “We must show the man that women are the best, and make sure men can understand that they have to bow for their women’s rights!”
The only way women can get free is to achieve an independent income, Parlika said, and for that they need education. She added, “It’s important to unite as many women as possible in a single organization capable of embracing the role of women in society and defending their freedoms.”
Afghan women are quite capable, Parlika asserted. “Afghan women are the foundation of the society. They perform the most difficult tasks. They bring wood from the mountains, they do the farming, take care of animals, the difficult housework and the education of the kids. And she is not having any recompense for all this work.
“Beautiful carpets are made 100% by Afghani women and girls, and they never get a penny for what they do. “We were not always like this. It was only 10 years under the Taliban. Before that women worked even in construction and were the first truck drivers. I was a student 40 years ago. Women were on the faculty. Afghan women can do any job! “But now our political, educational and all social institutions are razed to the ground” … (full text).
Suraya Parlika was born in Kamari Village of Bagrami District in 1944 to an educated family. She completed her secondary education in 1962 at Zarghona High School. In 1963, she was full of fervor for academic education, and in 1966 she obtained a BSc from the Faculty of Economics, Kabul University. In 1973, she went to Kiev, the Republic of Ukraine, to pursue her postgraduate studies, and in 1977 she obtained her Masters Degree in Economics and Bilateral Relationship. She returned to Afghanistan and secured a teaching post in the Foreign Relations Department at Kabul University. In 1965 along with other five women, she was inspired to found the Democratic Women Organization DWO (Sazoman democratic Zana), which she presided in 1978.
She has been involved in the 12th and 13th parliamentary elections in order to ensure that women are represented in the parliament. She has also encouraged women to resist a proposal of some MPs for banning women’s education abroad. As a result of her activities, the proposal was aborted.
In August 1978, Suraya Parlika was imprisoned and tortured, and was finally transferred to the notorious Pulecharkhi prison. After 18 months in prison, she was released and reappointed as president of DWO. During her time in office as president of DWO, in collaboration with International Confederation of Women, she organized an international conference on women in Afghanistan, aiming to raise the international community’s awareness of the degraded condition of the Afghan women.
In 1986, she was appointed as president and secretary general of the Red Crescent Society of Afghanistan, and she assisted in the establishment of the International Federation of Red Cross’s office in Kabul. She was also elected as a delegate to the Constitutional Loya Jirga.
In 1990 Suraya Parlika helped to dispatch some war-victim Afghan children to receive medical treatment in the USA. In 1992, she established All Afghan Women Union and has also set up several courses in literacy, tailoring, embroidery and carpet weaving. And in 1992, after the mujahedin (Islamic militants) took over power in Kabul, she was fired from her post. However, she covertly continued her social work and offered home schooling for women and young girls in her house.
Immediately after the collapse of Taliban’s regime, she, along with a group of women teachers, worked hard to make up for the education period that young girls have missed during Taliban era. She has successfully lobbied for their admission into the local schools. She has mobilized women to make public demonstrations in order to draw the world’s attention to the distressful situation of women in Afghanistan.
Her network and AAWU (All Afghan Women union), which she is currently presiding, have been actively engaged in the presidential election to bring Afghan women out to vote. In 2003, she pushed for the incorporation of an article in the Afghan Constitution that ensures gender equality in all rights. (1000 peace women).
Read: USIP – ADST, Afghanistan Experience Project, 19 pdf pages.
Suraya Parlika had spoken in San Francisco on March 10, 2005. She is Afghanistan’s Premier Women’s Rights Advocate, on Elections and Women’s Rights in Afghanistan, she is a Member of the Afghan Loya Jirga (legislature) and 2005 Senatorial Candidate; she is the Foundert andd Leader of the ‘All Afghan Women’s Union’, and she is the Director of the Peace Circle, a sister circle of the Sonoma County Women’s Council … In 1978, after earning a Masters in Economics she was elected chairman of the Democratic Organization of Afghan Women. The price of her leadership was torture and imprisonment in Pul-e-Charkhi prison. She was unbowed. On December 27, 1979 she was released from prison and again accepted the chairmanship of the Democratic Organization of Afghan Women, where she continued until 1986. At this point Suraya became head of the Afghan Red Crescent, a post she held until she was fired in 1992, when the mujahedin entered Kabul and ousted the Najibullah regime. She has been imprisoned, attacked, and shot, but vows to keep fighting. “I will continue my activities until Afghanistan has democracy, peace, equality between women and men, social development and the involvement of women in political, economic and social affairs.” (full text).
Read: Violence and Afghan Women.
Database of Delft women organizations (excerpt):
- Afghan association (and the Afghan women organization), chairman: mr. Khalid Lodin, Lodewijk van Dreysselhof 149, 2624 WN Delft, mail.
All activitities of the Afghan association take place at buurthuis Voorhof, Herman Gorterhof 165, 2624 XL Delft … can all be found in the free database of Delft women organizations (scroll down).