Previous session: Friday 26 May 2017 – Human Rights and Contemporary Afghanistan

Friday, 26 May 2017 – Human Rights and Contemporary Afghanistan

The situation for women and girls in Afghanistan in relation to their human rights is complex and multi-layered. While Afghanistan is a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, access to basic human rights such as education, employment and rights to divorce remain contested. This is particularly so in the provinces. Dr Sima Samar will speak about her work with the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission and the current status of women and girls in Afghanistan.

Dr Samar is the Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). Before chairing the Commission, she was elected as the Vice Chair of the Emergency Loya Jirga (Grand Assembly) in 2002. At the UN Bonn meeting on Afghanistan in 2001, Dr Samar was chosen to be the first Deputy Chair and Minister of Women’s Affairs in the Interim Administration of Afghanistan.

Dr Samar has received various international awards for her work on human rights and democracy. In 2001 she received the John Humphrey Freedom Award. During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Dr Samar was forced to flee after her husband was arrested. He was never heard from again. In Pakistan, Dr Samar worked to set up medical services for Afghan refugees. In 1987, she helped open the first hospital for women, staffed by women in Quetta, Pakistan. In 1989, she established the Shuhada Organization, a non-governmental and non-profit organization committed to the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan with special emphasis on the empowerment of women and children. In 2010 she established Gawharshad Institute of Higher Education which has attracted more than 2400 students since its establishment of which more than 35 per cent are women. Sima Samar was born in February 1957 in Ghazni province. She obtained her degree in medicine in February 1982 from Kabul University; she was the first Hazara woman to achieve this in Afghanistan.

Where and when?

11am-1230pm, Friday 26 May

This is an ad hoc Majlis session. The Majlis usually take place on the first Friday of each month at 11am, and are held at the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies (CAIS) at the ANU.

We welcome suggestions for topics that are of interest to participants. If you would like to suggest a topic, speaker, or make a presentation yourself, please contact us.

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