Amnesty International hosted an event at Parramatta Town Hall last week to discuss the plight of Afghan women fighting for their rights.
The panelists included co-founder of Wazhma Frogh, Afghanistan’s first research institute focused on women, who accepted Amnesty’s invitation to travel to Australia to enlighten people on the current situation.
“We have come a long way, but we fear reversing on a lot of accomplishments after the foreign troops’ withdrawal," Ms Frogh said.
“With more than 65 per cent of the population under the age of 25, and the increasing influence of the Taliban, the need for “continued international engagement is vital," she said.
The discussion was moderated by SBS TV’s chief political correspondent, Karen Middleton, and also included human rights and transitional justice consultant Dallas Mazoori, military fellow at the Lowy Institute, James Brown, and Dr Jennifer Jamieson, who served in Kunduz, Afghanistan with Medecins Sans Frontieres for six months.
The transition phase currently taking place with the withdrawal of Australian troops scheduled by 2014 has left women fearful of once again becoming what Mr Brown referred to as “bargaining chips” amidst a conflict driven by political negotiations.
Amnesty International assured that the focus on Afghan women would be prominent over the next few months and called upon Australians, the international community and governments to assist in protecting the human rights of girls and women.