Kallas, female leaders call for Afghan women's rights to be upheld

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Kaja Kallas. Source: Peaministri büroo

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) joined a call by female leaders for the "current and future power holders" to refrain from violence against women and to uphold and advance the rights of girls and women in Afghanistan.

The call was initiated by President of Slovakia Zuzana Caputova and Prime Minister of Iceland Katrin Jakobsdottir.   

The joint statement says that following the withdrawal of military forces from Afghanistan: "We will continue to closely follow the developments and listen to the voices of Afghan women and girls."

The signatories urge the international community to pay close attention to the situation and rights of those that are currently among the most vulnerable in Afghanistan.

The call has been joined by the Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen, the Prime Minister of Estonia Kaja Kallas, the Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin, the President of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili, the President of Greece Katerina Sakellaropoulou, the Prime Minister of Lithuania Ingrida Šimonyte, the President of Moldova Maia Sandu, the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg. 

The Taliban have taken control of Afghanistan after President Ashraf Ghani fled and NATO forces withdraw from the country last month. There are now fears women will not be able to work and girls will not be allowed to go to school, rules the Taliban previously imposed among others which severely restricted women's rights.

The call has been republished below:

"We are deeply concerned about the current developments in Afghanistan, including the multiple reports on violations of the rights of girls and women in many parts of the country. 

"We call on current and future power holders in Afghanistan to respect the rights of women and girls, and to refrain from any steps that would impede their rights in areas such as employment, education, access to healthcare, culture or public office. We especially call on the authorities in Afghanistan to prevent every form of violence towards women and girls. 

"Irrespective of our differences, men and women are equal and their rights are inalienable and incontestable. 

"We, women leaders, want to reassure Afghan women and girls that we will closely follow the developments in their country, listen to their voices, and continue to support their rights and opportunities."

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Editor: Helen Wright

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