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Statement by Ms. Alison Davidian, Country Representative a.i. for UN Women in Afghanistan, on the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan, during the daily press briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, 25 July 2022.
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On 22 June, at 01:30am, an earthquake of magnitude 5.9 struck the south-eastern provinces of Paktika and Khost in the Central Region of Afghanistan.
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I am gravely concerned by the Taliban's announcement that all women must cover their faces in public, that women should only leave their homes in cases of necessity, and that violations of this directive will lead to the punishment of their male relatives. Freedom of movement is a fundamental human right. It is an absolute prerequisite for women’s ability to exercise the full range of their rights and to be active participants in society.
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UNAMA is deeply concerned with today’s announcement by the Taliban de facto authorities that all women must cover their faces in public, that women should only leave their homes in cases of necessity, and that violations of this directive will lead to the punishment of their male relatives.
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[Press release] The Elsie Initiative Fund for Uniformed Women in Peace Operations (EIF) announced today that Cambodia will receive funding to undertake a study to identify barriers to the deployment of women in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), to United Nations peace operations. Cambodia, the 25th highest troop contributing country to United Nations peacekeeping, currently deploys 766 military personnel, among which 14 per cent are women.
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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and UN Women, the UN entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women signed a letter of intent committing to strengthen their partnership to protect the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan. The complex humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan is marked by gender-specific restrictions that directly impact the ability of women and girls to realize their rights. Afghan women and girls face unique vulnerabilities and risks as gender inequality is interwoven with conflict dynamics and humanitarian needs.
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2016 was the year I embraced who I am, it was the year I joined the equality for all movement, and it was the year I asked myself who am I? My name is Thida Kuy, I am Cambodian, I am the Co-Founder of Loveisdiversity and I am a LGBTQ+ activist.
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My name is Sinoun Poev. I am 26 years old and I am from Cambodia. Currently I'm a project coordinator of Collective Action to Support Women's Right with Alliance for Conflict Transformation (ACT), a local NGO in Cambodia. This project aims to link the community and civil society to government by increasing women and youth participation and leadership in decision making processes in Cambodia.
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Mursal Samadi* had worked as a prosecutor, independent investigator, and a civil society leader for more than 16 years in Afghanistan when the Taliban took over Kabul on 15 August. She remains in Afghanistan, advocating for the rights of Afghan women and girls.
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There is a Cambodian proverb: “A man is gold; a woman is a white piece of cloth.” The implication is that gold (men) can be made clean and shiny if dropped in mud, but the cloth (women) is stained and ruined. This saying mirrors the sentiment of generations in our country’s society and their view on female sexuality. This portrayal of women’s sexuality is one example of how women often lack their sexual rights and autonomy.
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On 21 October 2021, UN Women and partners facilitated the participation of a delegation of Afghan women to speak at a series of events and high-level meetings at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on the sidelines of the UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security. The delegation included parliamentarians, women’s rights advocates, journalists, civil society leaders, and researchers.
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On Thursday, 21 October, the UN Security Council will convene its annual Open Debate on Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security, the landmark resolution that recognized the impact of conflict on women and girls and the importance of women’s leadership in peacebuilding and peacemaking. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic added to the evidence on the effectiveness of women’s leadership at the highest levels of public life.
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Naheed Farid was among many women leaders who left Afghanistan, fearing for their lives, as the Taliban took over in August 2021. Farid spoke at the UN recently, calling for international support to address the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and to safeguard women’s rights.
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In an op-ed for the Global Governance Project, UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous writes: "The international community, including G20 leaders, have an opportunity to work together in unity to prevent the reversal of the hard-won rights of Afghan women and girls and to work constructively to enable a more inclusive trajectory that will actively foster peace and resilience in Afghanistan – and the region."
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Alison Davidian, Deputy Representative for UN Women in Afghanistan, breaks down what women in Afghanistan need most right now, what UN Women is doing for women in the country, and how the international community can support Afghan women now.
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Hasina Safi served as Afghanistan's acting minister for women from May of 2020 until August 2021, and as Minister of Information and Culture before that. Ms. Safi has over 20 years’ experience in women development programs working with Afghan civil society organizations international organizations and UN agencies.
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“Women have a right to peaceful protest and to a life free of violence. In taking control of Afghanistan the Taliban authorities assume a duty to respect and protect these rights,” Pramila Patten said. “I am shocked and outraged by the images of women in Afghanistan being whipped, hit with shock batons and beaten simply for exercising their right to peaceful protest. I stand in solidarity with all Afghan women who are fighting for the respect of their fundamental rights.
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“Women’s political participation is a fundamental prerequisite for gender equality and genuine democracy. Women’s participation in all walks of life is essential for an inclusive, strong, and prosperous society in Afghanistan, both to meet the many challenges the country faces today and to succeed tomorrow. It is therefore critical that political decision-making processes are participatory, responsive, equitable, and inclusive,” stated Pramila Patten.
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As Afghanistan begins a new chapter, Mohammad Naciri of UN Women for Asia and the Pacific says women and girls must retain their right to participate in public life, not just politically, but also socially and economically. Women’s access to services for health, education, legal and others must also be preserved.
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Mohammad Naciri of UN Women for Asia and the Pacific says the Taliban made public statements ensuring the safety and security of women and girls. However, what is being said in Kabul may not have a trickle-down effect to the provinces and villages of Afghanistan.