London: Women’s Regional Network (WRN), a network of women civil society leaders working together to advance women’s rights and regional peace in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, launched its reports developed on the feminist participatory research, Community Conversations titled ‘Afghan Women’s Struggle under the Taliban’ at the House of Lords, UK Parliament on 7 December 2023. This research documents the voices of marginalised women in conflict zones, focused on the impact of Taliban rule on Afghan Women within Afghanistan, as well as those who have fled to India and Pakistan. The research was funded by Womenkind Worldwide, a women’s rights organisation and a UK registered charity.
Fifty special invited guests representing civil society, policy makers, Afghan women, researchers, academia and media attended the launch of the community conversation reports and eighty participants were connected online.
At the launch, the reports were presented to Andrew McCoubrey, the UK Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, and Baroness Fiona Hodgson of Abinger, Vice chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Women, Peace & Security.
Following the launch, WRN team had various bi-lateral meetings with non-profits in London including a briefing about the research findings to Alex Cameron, Head of Afghanistan Programmes and Policy Department at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), of the Government of the United Kingdom.
The reports call for diplomatic pressure on the Taliban to respect and guarantee women’s rights, with measurable inclusion benchmarks in education and the workforce. It urges nations with feminist foreign policies to prioritise women’s rights in Afghanistan and offer scholarships and asylum to Afghan women affected by the Taliban’s actions. The reports provide practical and specific recommendations aimed to address the challenges and limitations, emphasising the protection of women’s rights, the provision of mental health services, enhanced access to justice and the equitable distribution of humanitarian aid with an inclusive, diverse and survivor centric approach.
The research highlights various issues within the Gender Apartheid Lens with a focus on internally displaced persons/refugees as well as minorities and women human rights defenders. The 2023 report will also be launched in several locations including the Canada, the United States, and Switzerland, with associated advocacy efforts based on the recommendations from Afghan women on the ground.
The reports can be read/downloaded on: https://www.womensregionalnetwork.org/wrncommunityconversations