A Feminist Foreign Policy in the Context of Afghanistan
March 31, 6.30 – 8 pm
After the Taliban violently seized power over Afghanistan in August 2021, the international community was left stunned. The already tense economic situation in the country has deteriorated massively: the financial system has collapsed completely while the health and education systems are on the verge of a breakdown. More than twenty million Afghans are threatened by famine. And it is quickly becoming clear that particularly Afghan women and girls are suffering from the current crisis. Already before the international community withdrew, maternal mortality rates were extremely high and have worsened since, access to education has been severely restricted, and reports of forced marriages and the sale of minors are mounting. Appeals to the Taliban to protect women’s rights remain unheard and the current economic plight of the Afghan people does not seem to persuade the current government to make any far-reaching concessions.
Difficult questions quickly arise in this context: Where is the balance between assuring the necessary support to the local Afghan population and thus forcing them to cooperate with the Taliban on the one hand, and uncompromisingly defending women’s rights on the other? How can local women, who cannot or do not want to flee, be supported in their daily lives in Afghanistan in the best possible way? And what can and should a (German) feminist foreign policy do here, and which diplomatic solutions are promising?
We are looking forward to discuss these questions with our guests during our discussion.
Agnieszka Brugger has been a member of the German Bundestag since 2009 and served as vice chairwoman of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group since 2018. She is a regular member of the Defence Committee and an alternate member of the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Besides her activities in the parliament she is, among others, a patroness of Netzwerk F, a feminist network for (foreign) policy.
Sima Samar is among the most prominent voices in the fight against the oppression of women in Afghanistan. She is a former Minister of Women’s Affairs of Afghanistan and served as the State Minister for Human Rights and International Affairs as well as Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). In December 2019, she was appointed as a member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement by António Guterres. Samar has received numerous international awards for her work, including the Right Livelihood Award in 2012.
Heather Barr is an associate director at Human Rights Watch for the Women’s Rights Division. After working for the United Nations on human rights and legal reform in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burundi and Jordan she joined Human Rights Watch in Kabul in 2011. She is a renowned expert on human rights and has conducted research in multiple countries including Afghanistan, focussing on issues such as child marriage, domestic violence, girls’ education, women’s access to health care, online gender-based violence, so called “moral crimes”, “honor violence” and “virginity exams”.
To join our online event via Zoom, please sign up below. We will send you the Zoom link shortly before the start of the event.
We are looking forward to an inspiring and insightful discussion and hope to see you there!
If you have any questions, please contact Cara Thielen.