Afghan women tell Cop26: ‘Stand with us’

UPDATE: Public vigil to be held in George Square, Glasgow, on Wednesday November 10 – join us to show Solidarity with Afghan Women & Honour their Rights. Noon til 2pm, families welcome.

Afghan women living in Scotland have today issued a powerful call to the Cop26 leaders: “Stand with us; defend our planet, defend our rights.”

Afghan women are bearing the brunt of the repressive and abusive Taliban, with their access to schooling and further education, freedom of movement, access to employment and basic human rights all seriously restricted.

Some don’t have food for their children, others have been forced into unwanted marriages.

Many have had to flee for their lives, but many more have simply been unable to do so and are unable to escape the Taliban.

Standing strong and united in Scotland, where Cop26 is now taking place, Afghan women from a range of backgrounds are urging world leaders to use the UN climate talks to send a strong and urgent message around the world in solidarity with all women suffering under repressive ideologies.

The Women’s Empowerment Project run by Glasgow Afghan United (GAU) sends the following message:

“Climate change is a feminist issue. Cop26 must have a feminist agenda. Leaders of the world’s nations, stand with us, the women of Afghanistan. Defend our rights, raise our voices, protect our children. Share our call for justice in every part of the world.

“We oppose the Taliban; we oppose the illegitimate rule of men who would strip women of their rights and deny our world the female scientists, innovators, activists and policymakers we urgently need to find solutions to the climate crisis.

“Education must be universal, denied to noone on the basis of their sex, ethnicity, religion or class. It must be true education that empowers students to stand tall as confident and powerful individuals, not as slaves to their husbands.

“Human rights are non-negotiable and must be constantly safeguarded and promoted. Poverty has an acute impact on women, particularly in poorer nations and marginalised communities. It is closely linked to food production, energy consumption and production, the quality of housing – all elements so closely interwound with climate change and the work of Cop26.

“We deserve and demand a strategic focus on women’s empowerment at Cop26. We deserve and demand that you, the most powerful politicians in the world, work together and with the women of the world. Start by asserting our rights; start by condemning the Taliban and calling for justice for Afghanistan’s women and girls.”

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