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V-Day Announces Afghan Women's Summit for Democracy


From the table at Bonn to the summit in Brussels, Afghan women lead the way:

Fifty Afghan women leaders to gather at historical Afghan women's summit in Brussels December 4-6:

World leaders and activists join in solidarity and support.

Tuesday, November 27, 2001 - In response to a request from women of Afghanistan for support and solidarity, the European Women's Lobby, Equality Now, V-Day, the Center for Strategic Initiatives of Women, and The Feminist Majority are hosting an Afghan Women's Summit for Democracy. The Summit will be held at the European Commission in Brussels from Tuesday - Thursday, December 4-6, in collaboration with the Gender Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and UNIFEM. Fifty Afghan women leaders, broadly representative of women in Afghanistan, will take part in the Summit, which will help bring the voices of Afghan women into the current international political discourse, ensuring that their message is heard.

Three of the Summit participants: Sima Wali, primary Afghan organizer of the Summit, along with Seddighe Balkhi and Amena Afzali, will come directly from the negotiations in Bonn where they are now serving as delegates. The Summit will be chaired by Judge Navanethem Pillay, South African President of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

The Afghan Women's Summit is designed to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women and Peace and Security. Adopted last year, the resolution reaffirmed the importance of the equal participation and full involvement of women in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and the need to increase their role in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution.

Following the Summit, a delegation of Afghan women from the meeting will carry the message of the Summit to key political decision-makers. Their first stop is a scheduled meeting with the European Parliament on Thursday, December 6th, 10:00AM-12:00PM. The delegation is also expected to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and the U.N. Security Council in the following weeks.

Afghan Participants
These extraordinary women, who hail from different ethnic, linguistic, and religious backgrounds, have held Afghan civil society together against all odds. They include educators, health care providers, political activists, and others who have shown their commitment and leadership in grassroots organizing. Participating Afghan women will come from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, the Central Asian Republics, the United States, Canada and Europe. All affirm their commitment to democracy and women's rights.

Supporting speakers and participants
Women leaders from around the world will also be present in solidarity. The supporting speakers, participants and convening groups will help carry the message of the Afghan women back to their own countries and help ensure that Afghan women are represented in conflict resolution efforts and the ongoing dialogue for peace.

Confirmed speakers and participants include (in alphabetical order):

About the convenors, funders, & supporting organizations:
convening groups

The European Women's Lobby (EWL) is the largest coalition of national and European non-governmental women's organizations in the European Union, representing over 3,000 associations in the 15 Member States. The EWL's goal is to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and to promote women's human rights in all EU policies. Through its Policy Action Centre on violence against women, the EWL develops actions and strategies to combat all issues concerning violence against women, such as domestic violence, prostitution and trafficking, female genital mutilation, forced marriages, and to urge decision-makers to take on responsibility in this field.

  • Equality Now
  • Equality Now is an international human rights organization working to end violence and discrimination against women. Issues of concern include rape, domestic violence, trafficking of women, female genital mutilation, denial of reproductive rights, equal access to education and employment, and political participation of women. Through its Women's Action Network, which has 25,000 members in more than one hundred countries around the world, Equality Now highlights human rights violations against women and girls and mobilizes public pressure to stop them.

  • V-Day
  • V-Day is a global movement to stop violence against women and girls. Each year, V-Day promotes creative productions of Founder and Artistic Director Eve Ensler's play, "The Vagina Monologues", as well as a series of innovative campaigns and initiatives, to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations working to stop worldwide violence -- rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual slavery -- against all women and girls.

  • Center for Strategic Initiatives of Women
  • The Center for the Strategic Initiatives of Women is a non-partisan, non-profit organization working with women's rights organizations around the world since 1993. With an office in Washington DC, CSIW works in partnership with Muslim women activists and women's organizations around the world and CSIW supports the long-term process of fostering leadership and self-sustaining institutions.

  • Feminist Majority Foundation
  • The Feminist Majority Foundation is the largest feminist research and action organization in the U.S. The Feminist Majority Foundation's Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid has been leading a nationwide public awareness campaign to bring the atrocities of the Taliban against women and girls to the attention of the world, to prevent U.S. and U.N. recognition of the Taliban, to increase humanitarian assistance for women and children, and to include women in all stages of the reconstruction and government of Afghanistan.;

    The Summit funders include The Ford Foundation, Open Society Institute, V-Day, the Global Fund for Women, Jane Fonda, UNIFEM and a number of individuals.

    Supporting organizations
    The following organizations have expressed their support for the Afghan Women's Summit and their solidarity with Afghan women.

    Organizational contacts
    Denise Fuchs or Colette De Troy, European Women's Lobby, Brussels +32 2 217 9020, email:

    Jessica Neuwirth or Taina Bien-Aimé, Equality Now, New York +1 212 586 0906, e-mail:

    Media access
    The Summit will be closed to the public and the press. However, the opening statements of solidarity on December 4th, 8:30AM-10:00AM will be open to media. In addition, there will be a press conference following its conclusion on December 6th, tentatively scheduled from 8:00AM-9:00AM.

    Media Schedule

    Date: Tuesday, December 4th

    8:30AM - 10:00AM

    Location: European Commission

  • Closing press conference
  • Date: Thursday, December 6th

    8:00AM-9:00AM (To be confirmed)

    Location: To Be Announced

  • Meeting at European Parliament
  • Date: Thursday, December 6th

    10:00AM-12:00PM (To be confirmed)

    Location: European Parliament

    For press accreditation, please contact

    European Media:

    Cécile Gréboval, European Women's Lobby, Brussels, +32 2 217 9020, email:

    U.S. Media:

    Susan Celia Swan, V-Day, New York +1 212 445 3288, e-mail:

    Press accreditation is required.