Palwasha Hassan – Afghanistan

Linked with The Afghan Womens Network, and with Canadian women for women in Afghanistan CW4WAfghan.

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

She says: “I know that securing women’s rights in Afghanistan will be a long process. But I am confident that with diligent collaborative efforts of dedicated men and women we can overcome all challenges.”.

Palwasha Hassan - Afghanistan rogné.jpg

Palwasha Hassan – Afghanistan

She works for the Afghan Women’s Education Center (AWEC), for the Afghan Women’s Network (AWN), and for the UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan’s Gender Network (UNAMAGN).

Palwasha Hassan, born in 1969 in Kabul, Afghanistan, obtained a BSc in the Science Program from a government-run college in Islamabad, Pakistan. She is the founder of the Afghan Women’s Education Center, a well-established Afghan women’s organization. She is also a co-founder of the Afghan Women’s Network.

As the representative of Rights & Democracy in Afghanistan, Palwasha Hassan is the first Afghan woman to head an NGO in Afghanistan since the establishment of the new interim government in 2001.

Palwasha Hassan is a women’s right activist and social worker with long-term experience in the field of human rights and violence against women. She has an in-depth understanding of the challenges facing Afghan women today and the complexities of women’s struggles in the Muslim world. She is well-connected with Afghan civil society networks at both the grassroots and the international level, and she is frequently invited to share her solid expertise and knowledge at decision-making tables around the world.

She presently works as the project coordinator and consultant for the Canada-based International Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Rights & Democracy). She has assisted in creating a Human Rights Network based in Kabul that includes Human Rights Watch, the International Human Rights Law Group, Medica Mondiale and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Moreover, she is a member of the UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA)’s Gender Network and is currently working on a breakthrough human rights research and action project in Afghanistan. It is called Human Rights and Peace Research Action Consortium, housed under CARE International in Afghanistan.

In December 2003, she was one of 50 delegates to the Constitutional Loya Jirga appointed by President Hamid Karzai. She was also one of 100 women delegates in the grand assembly, who drafted and voted in Afghanistan’s new Constitution in January 2004.

Her unique integrity, dedication, courage and impressive charisma have earned her the trust and admiration of her colleagues. (Read all on 1000peacewomen).

the Afghan Women’s Education Center (AWEC) is mentionned in the following texts:

“In many ways, the situation for women is more difficult under the Northern Alliance than it was under the Taliban,” said Ariane Brunet, coordinator of the programme. “Sexual harassment is rife and men stare at women, waiting for them to lower their eyes in submission.”

Despite the departure of the Taliban, the fundamentalists and warlords still have important roles in government – having already forced the departure from the cabinet of long time women’s rights advocate Dr. Sima Samar–recipient of the 2001 John Humphrey Freedom Award and now head of the Human Rights Commission.

The notorious Taliban-created Vice and Virtue Department still exists, and Rights & Democracy staff were astonished to see this department still in action on a nightly television programme in which Afghan women trained in Iran and in Saudi Arabia preach a discriminatory and conservative version of the Koran.

The government of Hamid Karzai has also as yet failed to repeal a number of decrees that deny women’s rights, including those that bar access to education for girls and women, prohibit children from playing with kites and women from riding in the front passenger seat of a vehicle, beside a male driver.

Although in Kabul many women and girls have started school, in more remote areas of the country, the Taliban edicts are still in practice. In recent weeks several girls’ schools have been the targets of bombings or arson in the northern provinces of Jozjan and Sar-i-Pul and in the southeastern province of Zabulhave.

Moreover, in more remote areas, women are often still being made to carry out prison sentences for crimes their husbands, fathers and brothers have committed. (Read the whole on Rights and Democracy).
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