Women Political Leaders (WPL) has been closely monitoring the developments in Afghanistan since the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces – which was completed at the end of August. Despite the Taliban’s repeated assurances to the international community about establishing an inclusive government that represents all parts of society, Afghan women politicians are not only being sidelined from participation, they are also suffering threats and violence.
The new Afghan government excludes women politicians. What was once the Women’s Affairs Ministry is now replaced with the Ministry of Vice and Virtue, known for functioning as a morality police that enforces Sharia law and horrific punishments for women found guilty of different ‘crimes’ – including of dressing in ways the Taliban don’t like, attending an educational institute or being out of their home without a male guardian. More than a dozen Afghan women legislators have already been evacuated from the country, while others have gone into hiding, fearing persecution and death. The lives of women Members of Parliament, Members of regional or local political representations, lawyers, judges, activists and journalists who remain in the country are under threat, as the Taliban continues to conduct targeted door-to-door visits in search of ‘opponents’.
With the Taliban now seeking international recognition and assistance, and as world leaders begin to engage with the de facto Afghan authorities, the need and opportunity to ensure the safety and security of Afghan women leaders is high. The European Union’s recent announcement at the special G20 Summit, pledging a one billion Euro aid package for Afghanistan, comes at a crucial time, along with the first in-person talks with U.S. officials since the American withdrawal. While the main objective is averting humanitarian and socioeconomic collapse in Afghanistan, funding must be contingent on evidence of adherence to ensuring the safety and security of women political leaders. As a key player that will help shape Afghanistan’s future, the G20 must establish an effective and dedicated mechanism, with a clear mandate, that monitors the situation of women’s rights in Afghanistan and holds the Taliban responsible and accountable.
As the global network of women politicians, WPL will continue to call for effective measures of conditional aid until the safety of Afghan women political leaders, and women political leaders everywhere else, is assured. The women who are being silenced now are badly needed in the rebuilding of a war-torn Afghanistan.Sign Open Letter
Alison Thewliss – Member, House of Commons, United Kingdom.
Alviina Alamestsä – Member, European Parliament.
Ameenah Gurib Fakim – President, Mauritius (2015-2018).
Aminata Touré – President, Economic, Social and Environmental Council (2019-2020); President’s Special Envoy for Internal and External Affairs (2015-2019); Prime Minister, Senegal (2013-2014); Minister of Justice Attorney General, Senegal (2012-2013), WPL Global Ambassador for Vaccination.
Ana Amelia Lemos – Secretary, Federative and International Relations, Government, Brazil.
Androulla Vassiliou – European Commissioner for Health, (2008 -2010); European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth (2010 – 2014).
Anita Kucharska Dziedzic – Member, Sjem Parliament, Poland.
Anna Kostanyan – Member, National Assembly, Armenia.
Annita Demetriou – President, House of Representatives, Cyprus, WPL Country Ambassador to Cyprus.
Annita Vandenbeld – Member, House of Commons, Canada.
Arancha González Laya – Member, GWL Voices; Assistant Secretary-General, UN (2013-2020); Minister, Foreign Affairs, Government, Spain (2020-2021).
Assita Kanko – Member, European Parliament.
Benita Ferrero Waldner – Minister of Foreign Affairs Austria (2000-2004), EU Commissioner (2004-2010); Advisory Council, The Princess of Girona Foundation.
Carla Sousa – Member, Assembly of the Republic, Portugal.
Carol Bellamy – Director, the Peace Corps (1993-1995); Executive Director, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) (1995-2005).
Chandrika Kumaratunga – President, Sri Lanka, (1994-2005).
Chikas Kumle – Politician; Member, Women’s Democracy Network; Advocate, Beijing +25 Eaglet, Nigeria.
Clare Barber – Member, House of Keys Parliament, Isle of Man.
Corina Creţu – Member, European Parliament.
Dalia Grybauskaitė– President, Lithuania (2009-2019).
Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin – Minister, Plantation Industries, Commodities; Minister, Housing and Local Government (2018-2020, 2020-2021); WPL Country Ambassador to Malaysia.
Diah Pitaloka – Member, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle; Member, The House of the Representatives, Republic of Indonesia (2014-2024); Vice Chairwoman, Commission VIII; Chairwoman, Parliament Women’s Caucus, Republic of Indonesia (KPPRI- Kaukus Perempuan Parlemen Republik Indonesia).
Eunide Innocent – Executive Director, POFHAD; Minister for the Status of Women and Women’s Right, Haiti, (2007 – 2020).
Éva Andrea Csep – Member, Chamber of Deputies, Romania.
Eva Uusi Biaudet – Member, Parliament, Finland.
Evelyn Regner – Member, European Parliament; Chair, FEMM Committee.
Filsan Abdullahi Ahmed – Minister, Women, Children and Youth, Ethiopia (2020-2021).
Frances Fitzgerald – Member, European Parliament.
Gudrun Brunegard – Member, Riksdag Parliament, Sweden.
Helen Clark – Prime Minister, New Zealand (1999-2008); UNDP Administrator (2009-2017); Member, Council of Women World Leaders; Chair, WPL Board.
Helmut Brandstätter – Member, European Parliament.
Hilde Vautmans – Member, European Parliament.
Hisaan Hussain – Member, Majlis Parliament, Maldives.
Ingrid Leary – Member, House of Representatives; Co Chairperson, 53rd Parliament, New Zealand, WPL Country Ambassador to New Zealand.
Irina Gerashchenko – Member, Parliament, Ukraine; Co Chair, European Solidarity Function.
Irine Yusiana Roba Putri – Member, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle; Member, House of Representatives, Republic of Indonesia; WPL Country Ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia.
Iveta Radičová – Dean of Faculty, Media pan-European University Bratislava; Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Family (2005-2006); Deputy, Slovak National Parliament (2006-2009); Candidate for President (2009); Prime Minister, Slovak Republic (2010-2012).
Jadranka Kosor – Prime Minister, Croatia (2009-2011).
Jamila Madeira – Member, Parliament, Portugal; Member, European Parliament (2004-2009); Deputy Minister of Health of the Portuguese government (2019-2020).
Jane Poole-Wilson – Minister, Justice and Home Affairs; Member, House of Keys for Middle Legislative Buildings, Isle of Man.
Jewel Howard-Taylor – Vice President and President, Senate of Liberia; Chairperson, Senate’s Health and Social Welfare Committee on Gender, Women and Children, Liberia; Member, WPL Board.
Jody Williams – Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (1997); Co-Founder, Nobel Women’s Initiative.
Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir – Minister, Social Affairs, Iceland, (2007 – 2009); Prime Minister, Iceland, (2009 – 2013).
Kim Pate – Senator, Senate, Canada.
Lara Martinho – Member, National Assembly, Republic of Portugal.
Laura Chinchilla Miranda – Vice President, Club de Madrid; President, Costa Rica, (2010-2014).
Linda Lanzillotta – WPL Global Ambassador for Good Governance; Vice-President, Senate of Italy (2013-2018).
Lindsay Northover – Baroness; Member, House of Lords, United Kingdom.
Lucero Saldaña – Member, Chamber of Deputies, Mexico.
Maria do Carmo Silveira – Executive Secretary, Comunidade dos Países de Lingua Portuguesa (2016 – 2018); Prime Minister (2005 – 2006).
Maria Eugenia Brizuela de Avila – Minister of Foreign Affairs, El Salvador, (1999 – 2003).
Maria Liberia Peters – Prime Minister, The Netherlands Antilles (1984-1986); (1988-1994).
Mariam Solaimankhil – Member, Parliament, Afghanistan.
Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca – President, Malta (2014-2019); President, Eurochild; Member, Council of Women World Leaders; Member, WPL Board; WPL #Girl2Leader Patron.
Marilou McPhedran – Member, Senate of Canada; Co-founder, The Canadian Association of Feminist Parliamentarians, WPL Country Ambassador to Canada.
Maris Lauri – Minister of Justice, Estonia; Member, Deputy Chair of the Finance Committee, Parliament; Minister of Finance (2014–2015); Minister of Education and Research (2016).
Markéta Gregorová – Member, European Parliament.
Mary Goudie – Baroness; Member, House of Lords, United Kingdom; Steering Committee, Member, 30% Club.
Mary Seneta – Member, Parliament, Kenya.
Maša Kociper – Member, National Assembly, Republic of Slovenia.
Mbarka Bouaida – Minister Delegate of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (2013 – 2016); President, Guelmim-Oued Noun Region, Morocco.
Mo Ibrahim – Founder and Chair, Mo Ibrahim Foundation; Member, WPL Advisory Board.
Natalie A. Jaresko – Minister of Finance, Ukraine (2014-16).
Natasa Mihailovic Vacic – Member, National Assembly, Republic of Serbia.
Nelly Lenz Rosso – Member, Chamber of the Deputies, Bolivia.
Nie Ching Teo – Member of Parliament, Malaysia; Deputy Minister, Education (2018-2020); International Secretary of the Democratic Action Party.
Nurhayati Ali Assegaf – Vice Chairwoman, Democratic Party (Partai Demokrat), Indonesia; President, Geneva Council for International Affairs and Development (GCIAD); Member of Parliament, Indonesia (2004-2019); Member, WPL Board; WPL Global Ambassador for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Obiageli “Oby” Katryn Ezekwesili – Economic and Public Policy Expert and Senior Economic Adviser, Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative (AEDPI); World Bank Vice-President, Africa Region (2007-2012); Member, WPL Board.
Patricia J. García – Minister of Health, Peru (2016-2017); Professor, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia; Adjunct Professor, Global Health Department, University of Washington.
Paula Ann Cox – Premier, Bermuda (2010 – 2012).
Pauline Latham – Member, House of Commons, United Kingdom.
Pilar González – Senator, Senate, Spain.
Rangina Kargar – Member, National Assembly, Afghanistan.
Rasa Juknevičienė – Member, European Parliament.
Rosalía Arteaga – Executive President, FIDAL Foundation; President of Ecuador (1997); Member, WPL Board.
Rosine Sori-Coulibaly – Minister of Economy, Finance and Development (2016-2018); Burkina Faso (2016-2018); Special Representative, Guinea-Bissau, United Nations Secretary General (2019-2020).
Ruth Dreifuss – Federal Councillor (1993-2002); President, Swiss Confederation (1999).
Shah Gul Rezaie – Member, Parliament, Afghanistan (2005- 2021).
Shinkai Karokhail – Member, Parliament, Afghanistan (2005-2021); Chairperson, Afghan Women’s Parliamentary Caucus, WPL Country Ambassador to Afghanistan.
Shukria Barakzai – Member of Parliament, Afghanistan.
Silvana Koch-Mehrin – President, Founder, Women Political Leaders (WPL); Vice-President, European Parliament (2009-2011); Member, European Parliament (2004-2014).
Stéphanie Empain – Member, Parliament, Luxembourg.
Susana Malcorra – Chief Staff, Secretary General of the United Nations (2012.2014); Minister, Foreign Affairs & Worship (2015-2017), Argentina; Member and co-founder, GWL Voices.
Viviane Reding – Vice-President, European Commission (2010- 2014); Vice-President, World Law Foundation.
Wanda Nowicka – Member, Sjem Parliament, Poland.
Amanda Ellis – Executive Director, Asia-Pacific, Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation;Senior Director, Global Partnerships and Networks, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory, Arizona State University.
Angela Hayes – Political Strategist, United States of America.
Anne Marie Goetz – Chief Advisor, Governance, Peace and Security, UNIFEM.
Annette Josephine Mulvihill – Independent Professional, Compassion Education.
Christy Tanner – Executive Vice-President, General Manager, Tanner Media LLC; ViacomCBS, CBS News Digital (2020-2021), United States of America.
Clay Compton – Committee Officer, Washington State Democratic Party Precinct.
Corey Levine – Consultant, United Nations to support Afghanistan Women Parliamentarians.
Ela Ferris – National Secretary, Familiar Justice.
Elizabeth Hor – Founder, Elizabeth Image Branding.
Germana Barba – Founder, Women in Action, Switzerland.
Ilona Kickbusch – Political scientist, PhD; Founding Director, Chair, Global Health Centre, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.
Julia Tétrault Provencher – Consultant, International Law and Human Rights Programme, Parliamentarians for Global Action.
Julie Gelman – PhD candidate, Faculty of Business and Law, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia.
Karina Murray – Co-founder; CEO, Annual Global Academy.
Katja Iversen – Executive Adviser, Women Political Leaders; President, Chief Executive Officer, Women Deliver.
Kerstin Karuschkat – Investigation Director, Institut der deutschen Wirtschaf, Köln; Founder, 3K.
Lila Lokmane – Co-Founder; General Director, Europa Dubbing Group.
Lucia de Luca – Managing Director, Women Political Leaders (WPL).
Marilyne Labasque – PhD; sMBA; Director; Lead & Design Strategist, Insightful Preclinical Studies.
Patricia Ahanda – Founder, Lyderxperience.
Patricia Pelton, President, World YMCA.
Regine Deguele – Founder Ambassador, Zonta International Foundation for Women.
Sahera Ramzan – Policy Manager, NHS, England.
Shikha Ojha – Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Engineering and Bio-economy eV (ATB).
Socorro L. Reyes – Co-Investigator, Transformation and Empowerment; Regional Governance Adviser, Center for Legislative Development.
Valerie Keller – Co-founder, Imagine World Ltd, Netherlands.Sign Open Letter