On 22 March 2022, jointly with our colleagues from the European Women Lawyers Association and Spanish Women’s Lobby, we organised an event, hosted by the Spanish Congress of Deputies, HUMAN RIGHTS OF AFGHAN WOMEN: PRESENT AND FUTURE.
- Meritxell Batet Lamaña. President of Congress
- Ana María Pastor Julián. Second Vice-President of Congress
- María Gloria Elizo Serrano. Third Vice-President of Congress
- Pau Marí Klose. President of the Foreign Affairs Committee
- Gita Saeed. Afghan poetess and activist under International Protection in Spain
- Nigin Sana Torabi. Young Afghan activist under International Protection in Spain
- Frohar Poya. Project Officer, European Network of Migrant Women (ENoMW)
- María José Rodríguez Becedas. European Women Lawyers' Association (EWLA)
- Teresa Nevado. Secretary General, Spanish Women's Lobby, LEM España
- Paloma Favieres. Policy and Campaigns Director, CEAR
- Begoña Carrera Ríos. Lawyer, Provivienda NGO
On behalf of the Afghan women of our Network we also presented a gift to the Spanish Parliament, a painting by a young Afghan woman Nigina Aimal, titled “Beauty in Freedom”. Additionally, we presented to the members of the Spanish parliament a letter collectively written by a group of Afghan women, addressed to the women fleeing the Russian invasion of their country.
During the event, the speakers highlighted the unacceptable treatment of women and girls by the Taliban including their denial of basic human rights such as access to education, work and free movement. It was emphasised that many professional and activist women in Afghanistan remain under a great risk and are in hiding since August 2021. Violence against women is rising rapidly: women are being persecuted in the name of tradition and religion, including corporal punishment and torture, while young girls are being sold into slavery by the families facing poverty and starvation.
The speakers pleaded to the Spanish government to continue issuing visas/travel permissions to Afghan women and children at risk, including those who had already received the Spanish Certificates in August but were unable to travel to Spain. Many of them are stranded in the third countries such as Pakistan, Iran, Emirates (Abu Dhabi), as well as inside Afghanistan. Concerning the Afghan women and children who have been or are in the process of being resettled in Spain, the European Network of Migrant Women and the Spanish Women’s Lobby urged the Spanish government to exercise the fair treatment of all refugees regardless of their ethnic origin or religion, and, to review and harmonise its integration policies with the EU and International human rights law and to uphold its commitment to the fundamental rights: to privacy & family life, freedom of movement, right to a life free from all kinds of violence.
Find the conclusions of the event, in English and Spanish, circulated to the members of the Spanish Parliament and relevant representatives of the Spanish Government.
On the weekend 18-20 March 2022, European Network of Migrant Women, jointly with our members from Sweden and Poland, and supported by EPIM Foundation, organised a two-day residential workshop for the Afghan women with whom we have maintained communication since supporting their evacuation to Spain in August 2021. This workshop built on the two previous workshops that European Network of Migrant Women, jointly with Afghan Women Organisation in Sweden and She4She in Hungary, organised online for a larger group of Afghan women in different European countries.
Altogether 25 women, including mothers, single mothers and young women, travelled to Malaga from different regions of Spain to take part in the workshop. For many of these women who had been civil society activists, lawyers, judges, writers and community organisers in Afghanistan, this was the first opportunity since their arrival to Spain, to reunite with the women from their own community, speak their language and discuss the issues pertinent specifically to the Afghan female refugees in Spain. This meeting was also an opportunity for the women to celebrate Nowrooz, the Afghan / Persian New Year the fell on 20 March.
In the two days of intense programme run by the experts from ENoMW the women participated in the following workshops and activities:
- WENDO Self-Defense Class, conduced by a certified WENDO Trainer and ENoMW member in Poland, Olesya Malyugina
- Yoga workshop
- Workshop on IT and access to Education, conducted by our Spanish partners
- Guided walk in nature with meditative and physical exercises
- Workshop for mothers
- Workshop for young women/daughters
- Workshop on male violence against women and women's human rights
- Bonding activities through cooking and dance
Each workshop was run in English or Spanish AND Dari. Each day of the workshop was introduced by a collective warm-up exercise and was concluded with a collective dinner prepared by the Afghan women themselves. The lunches each day were kindly made for all by our Spanish partners so that participants could focus on workshops and activities during the day. Each woman who participated in this weekend was awarded the attendance certificate in the end of the programme and was asked to complete an evaluation questionnaire. By the end of the workshop most participants expressed the desire to continue maintaining contact with each other and ENoMW and would like to continue the online sessions.