Heshima Kenya Stands With Afghan Women

As an advocate for women’s human rights, Heshima Kenya is honored to be a partner of the Afghan Women’s Shadow Summit. To coincide with the upcoming NATO summit, on Sunday, May 20th, Amnesty International will host a Shadow Summit on the human rights of women in Afghanistan. We believe that the full political, economic and social participation of women in Afghan society is vital to lasting peace, and are proud to support this Summit and its defense of women’s rights.

World leaders and dignitaries will meet in Chicago next week for the NATO summit, where they will consider many urgent questions, including those around Afghanistan’s future after the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2014.  However, Afghan women are not included in these discussions, despite Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s promise not to abandon Afghan women and the support of their human rights, which are at grave risk as the country looks to transition to Afghan rule. In addition to the Afghan government’s proposed “reintegration and reconciliation” programs with the Taliban and other insurgent groups that threaten women’s rights, Afghan President Hamid Karzai also recently endorsed an edict that would allow husbands to beat their wives in certain situations and encourages gender segregation in workplaces and schools.

The Afghan Women’s Shadow Summit will bring Afghan women’s voices to the forefront. Speakers and panelists include Melanne Verveer, U.S. Ambassador At-Large for Global Women’s Issues; Afifa Azim, General Director and Co-Founder of the Afghan Women's Network; Manizha Naderi, Executive Director of Women for Afghan Women; Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky; and Mahbouba Seraj, Executive Board Member of Afghan Women's Network, with Jerome McDonnell of WBEZ moderating the panel. The event will include the release of Amnesty International USA's open letter to US President Obama and Afghan President Karzai, urging them to develop a comprehensive action plan to protect the rights of Afghan women.

Immediately following the summit, at 1 p.m., Shadow Summit attendees will process from the Swissotel to Navy Pier for the Fly a Kite for Women's Rights action. Heshima Kenya’s own Alisa Roadcup, Director for U.S. Advocacy and Development, will MC the event, during which we will sign and then fly yellow kites and hear from Afghan women about their experiences. Click here to take action online for women's rights.

Join us on Sunday as we stand with Afghan women and demand that their rights not be bargained away. The Afghan Women Shadow Summit will take place Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Swissotel Downtown Chicago, 323 E Wacker Drive. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit: www.amnestyusa.org/afghanwomen.