Women's Commission draft text urges Afghan Transitional Authority to repeal discriminatory legislation, enable women's full civic participation

Commission on Status of Women
Forty-seventh Session
10th Meeting (AM)

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) would urge the Afghan Transitional Authority to repeal all legislative and other measures that discriminate against women and girls, under the terms of a draft resolution presented to the Commission on the Status of Women this morning.

Further to the draft (document E/CN.6/2003/L.4), the ECOSOC would urge the Afghan Authority to enable women and girls full, equal and effective participation in civil, cultural, economic, political and social life throughout the country. It would also urge the Authority to improve the practices of law enforcers when dealing with women victims of violence, particularly those accused of offences based on tradition.

In addition, ECOSOC would urge the Authority to ensure the equal right of women and girls to education, the effective functioning of schools throughout the country, and the admission of women and girls to all levels of education. It would also urge the Authority to reaffirm the equal right of women to own land and other property through the right to inheritance, and carry out reforms to give women equal rights to credit, capital and appropriate technologies.

Introducing the draft, the representative of Greece, speaking on behalf of the European Union, applauded the country's ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, new institutions which included women, and improvements in education. However, she said, much was needed to structurally improve the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan, and the current draft could play a vital role in reforms for women in the country.

According to a report of the Secretary-General on the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan (document E/CN.6/2003/4), which the Commission had under consideration during the current session, women had made significant progress since the country had emerged from 24 years of conflict, and now participated in several key institutions to reconstruct their country. Over 3 million girls and boys had returned to school since March 2002, and over 1.7 million refugees had returned from neighbouring countries.

However, states the report, many challenges to women's full and equal participation in Afghan society remained. They suffered from violence in several parts of the country, and their rights and fundamental freedoms were still restricted by local leaders. Women's progress was still determined by post-conflict characteristics of Afghan society, including patriarchal values and deeply ingrained traditions. In rural areas, especially in the more conservative tribal belt, the situation of women had remained virtually the same as it was during the time of the Taliban.

The Commission will meet again at a date and time to be announced.