At the end of the project (women and government working in unison to eliminate violence against women) a national conference regarding the elimination of violence against women law and its impact on the victims and society was organised by HAWCA on 31th of Dec 2015.

In this program, personnel of the government from judiciary, directorate of women affairs, representatives of human right commission, individuals from women right defending NGOs, universities and women activists participated.

During the program the main topic was how the EVAW law has affected the women positively and how it can be improved to make it more beneficial to the women. It was also discussed how the EVAW law can affect the victims negatively and what should be done to make it better.

 

Ms. Selay Ghaffar, Executive Director of HAWCA, was one of the main speakers in High Level Panel of UN Human Rights Council – Session 17: AFGHANISTAN WOMEN AND GIRLS TODAY - REALITIES AND CHALLENGES in Palais des Nations, Geneva, on June 9, 2011. The panel was organized and sponsored by International Federation of University Women – IFUW, Great Britain – Kabul, Women’s UN Report Network - WUNRN, Worldwide Organization for Women – WOW and Women’s Federation for World Peace International – WFWPI.

Ms. Ghaffar’s speech mainly focused on the points: i- violence against women in access to justice, education, health and violence and discrimination in workplace; ii- EVAW Law, Shelter Regulation and Traditional Dispute Mechanism in Afghanistan; iii- Peace and Reconciliation Process and role of women.

She said that today women and girl in Afghanistan are more subjected to different kinds of violence and discrimination than any other period. Women face violence in access to justice due to poor capacity of law enforcement agencies and culture of impunity for perpetrators. Girls education are always targeted by burning schools and closing gates of girls schools; poisoning and throwing acid on face of school girls; kidnapping and raping girls on the way to school and less efforts from government to promote girls education. She added that security is another major issue which bans women’s access to education, health care and other basic services.
While addressing the panel discussion, she said that today women and girls are exposing to different level of violence starting from family to community and to state violence. To end impunity for perpetrators, there should be a quick response mechanism which can provide legal assistance and protection to women. HAWCA as one of the women NGOs in Afghanistan is running shelter and legal aid and psycho-social centers in few provinces of the country in order to protect victims of violence.

Afghanistan has the most weak, unprofessional and corrupt judicial system. The real face of judiciary was exposed when they passed Shia’t Personal Law and recently the draft of so-called Shelter Regulation. The Shelter Regulation aimed on depriving women NGOs of their rights to run shelters for victims of violence and hand over the shelter management to Ministry of Women Affairs. This step was taken to just hide violence exploiting women by the government officials including MPs and their sons that we are currently witnessing. Fortunately, the strong action of Afghan women activists and many international pressures forced the government to revise the regulation.
During the discussion on Peace and Reconciliation Process, she showed her concerns regarding women’s and children rights to be negotiated on peace talks with opposition armed groups that will ban women from all walks of life.
At the end, she emphasized on the point that HAWCA will work with all other stakeholders towards women empowerment and make sure women and children rights are protected.

The other speakers in the panel were: Ms. Georgette Gagnon, Director Human Rights Unit & Representative OHCHR – UNAMA; Ms. Shoukria Haifar, President - NEGAR; Ms. Chantal Véron – Director of Humanitarian Projects for Women & Children in Afghanistan;  Dr. Elizabeth Mason Nash, Director of Maternal, Newborn, Child, & Adolescent Health – WHO; Ms. Jessica Mosbahi, Officer for Women’s Rights & Policy - Medica Mondiale; and Ms. Lois A. Herman – WUNRN.

Humanitarian assistance for the women and children of Afghanistan (HAWCA) is currently actives in the area of child and child protection, it is working since 1999 for the betterment of child education and it has big achievement along with its international partner kindernothelf (KNH).

Peace building project is another educational project taken by HAWCA and was established in Kabul city in the area of Ahmad shah Baba Mena in 2012 with close cooperation of Ministry of Education and funding of Kinder Not Hilfe (KNH). The project was started when many children had become victims of war and violence during the past decades of war.

During these years of activities for the children, HAWCA does not have any standardized policy for their protection, there for our donor KNH has been launched a three Module Workshop for the National NGOs such as HAWCA in INDIA for having a standardized policy for their country, In the first Module tow member of HAWCA has been participated for this workshop, it was three day workshop form 9 Dec to 11 Dec 2015 in Coimbatore City of India hosted by KKID organization.

The aim of first module was that participants of each century should be able to have a national draft form of the policy, the second and third module will be in 2016 and 2017.

HAWCA promises to fallow the international rules for protection of children along with its partner KNH Germany.

 

After the successful opening of "Legal Aid Center for Women Victims of Violence" in Herat City and Kabul City, HAWCA opened her third legal aid center in Jalalabad City to reach the women victims of violence in the east of Afghanistan. This project has been funded by Womankind Worldwide, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) and Cordaid with the help of an Afghan organization, Fayaz Foundation, based in Netherlands, active in advocacy for human rights. This center works for the victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and harmful practices and will work in close collaboration with DoWA, Law and Political Sciences Faculty - Nangarhar University and Family Court in Jalalabad.

In this center, lawyers with the help of under-graduate law students/practicing lawyers provide legal advice and assistance and the psychologist provides psycho-social support and counseling for women and girls who are victims of domestic and sexual violence and harmful practices. This project also provides legal trainings to the recently graduated law students and other women and girls. The center also established a /literacy human rights course for a number of 40 women and men in order to increase their awareness on their basic and constitutional rights. The center is also training 30 school teachers on psychosocial. To achieve its aim the project will use the following strategies: i- Offer the provision of free legal aid, counseling and the accompaniment of women to court who suffer from VAW, psycho-social support, provisional of health care to critical cases, as well as raising awareness and training women on their human rights;  ii- Promote the culture of free legal aid amongst defense lawyers; iii- Increase the commitment of policy makers to strengthen the formal justice system, by implementing legal provisions.

HAWCA opened the legal aid center in the center of Jalalabad in April 2011. Selay Ghaffar, Executive Director, and a team of HAWCA traveled to the province to meet with different organizations and institutes and establish mechanism of partnerships and collaboration amongst the stage holders, and to open our third legal aid center and HAWCA’s regional office in the east of Afghanistan.

HAWCA team met with Mr. Fazil Hadi, Head of Public Court, and Mr. Tahir Rohani, Head of Family Court, who appreciated our step in Nangarhar Province and showed their support. The team also met with Dr. Mohammad Saber, Nangarhar University’s Chancellor, and Mr. Aman, Director of Law and Political Sciences Faculty. A protocol was signed for introduction of students to the center to do their internship, and further coordination with university during trainings and other events. HAWCA also had meetings with Mrs. Anisa, Head of Department of Women Affairs (DoWA) of Nangarhar; Dr. Rafi Ullah Bedar head of AIHRC; Dr. Sharaf Sharifi, Regional Manager of ACBAR; Ms. Minako Kakuma from UNHCR; Mr. Sultan Agha from Global Rights; Mr. Fazil Mahboob Fazili from ILF; Mr. Daniele Rumolo, Associate Human Rights Officer of UNAMA; Dr. Takele Lakew and Dr. Hazrat-ur-Rahman from IMC; Ms. Sharifa Shahil from UN Women Referral Center, Mr. Hayat Ullah Talibzada from WAW; Mr. Gharmal from AWN, Ms. Angeza Shinwari, Member of Provincial Council; and some other national and international civil society organizations.

HAWCA had the inauguration on May 17, 2011. Quests from the government, national and international organization including UN agencies and Chancellor of Jalalabad University attend the ceremony.

Selay Ghaffar welcomed every one and gave a brief history of HAWCA and the work that has been done for elimination of violence against women (EVAW) through HAWCA programs in Afghanistan.  She explained about the objectives and donors of the project and added: “HAWCA is opening her third legal aid center and regional office in Jalalabad to assist women and girls violence in the east of the country. We will endeavor to reach out even in the remotest villages of the area and save the precious lives.”  With very entoseyasim she told about her experience visiting the most remote districts in Jalalabad she said. “I was deeply inspired by the people in the districts especially Dara-e-Noor while I was talking with them about the VAW and women empowerment. I was very warmly welcomed by the elders and women of the community. When I saw that a woman has to travel long a way by foot to reach to health point from a mountain of Dara-e-Noor district it gives me the strength and courage to work more for them.”  The other speakers were Dr. Mohammad Saber University Chancellor, Dr. Rafi Ullah Bedar AIHRC director, Ms. Angeza Shinwari member of provincial council, a judge from family court, UN women,  WAW and Qanoon Ghoshtankai representatives. At the end the ribbon was cut by University Chancellor and AIHRC Director and some other guests. They also visited the different offices of the project and enjoyed the refreshments.

Click here to view pictures of the event.

Training for the Afshar CDC committees is one of the important activities of HAWCA carried out under the project Precious Lives funded by COSPE. In these training the awareness level of the elders and CDC members of the locality is increased in regard to EVAW law, women rights in Islam and according to Afghan constitution and all the other relevant national and international laws. The CDCs are consisting of men and women and meet once every 15 days where they discuss about the hot issues in the area. A special time is given to the issues of violence against women cases where the cases are discussed and resolved. HAWCA representative and defense lawyer for the project is requested to take part in the meetings and take over any case that is concerned with violence against women. The case is first registered and tried to solve through mediation and later on if it is not solved through mediation then it will be followed in the court of law.

In Kigali, she wakes up,
She makes a choice,
In Hanoi, Natal, Ramallah.

In Tangier, she takes a breath,
Lifts up her voice,
In Lahore, La Paz, Kampala.

Through she’s half a world away,
Something in me wants to say -

We are One Woman
You cry and I hear you.
We are one Woman
You hurt, and I hurt, too.
We are One Woman
Your hopes are mine
We shall shine.

In Juarez she speaks the truth,
She reaches out,
Then teaches other how to.

In Jaipur, she gives her name,
She lives without shame,
In Manila, Salta, Embu.

Though we’re different as can be,
We’re connected, she with me -

We are One Woman
Your courage keeps me strong.
We are One Woman
You sing, I sing along.
We are One Woman
Your dreams are mine
We shall shine
We shall shine -

And one man, he hears her voice.
And one man, he fights her fight.
Day by day, he lets go the old ways,

One woman at a time.
We are One Woman
Your victories lift us all.
We are One Woman
You rise and I stand tall.
We are One Woman
Our dreams are mine
We shall shine
Shine, shine, shine -

Official song of UN Women, “One Woman”, lyrics by Beth Blatt, music by Graham Lyle and Clay which was composed for UN Women and performed by Graham Lyle, Clay, Beth Blatt, Gemma Bulos, Tituss Burgess, Tracy McDowell, Country Reed and United Nations International School Choir.

 

The Foreign Secretary and Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, co-chaired the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict on 10-13 June 2014 at ExCel London.

This was the largest gathering ever brought together on the subject, with 1,700 delegates and 129 country delegations including 79 Ministers. The Summit agreed practical steps to tackle impunity for the use of rape as a weapon of war, and to begin to change global attitudes to these crimes.

During the Summit there were over 175 public events in London, and an 84-hour global relay of events around the world.

Najia Karimi the executive director of HAWCA was invited to this event by Womankind Worldwide.

‘Different contexts, shared reality: working with women and girls facing conflict’

This was a joint event with GAPS, IRC and Womankind. Speakers included Magdalena Aquilin Mlolere and Najia Karimi – alongside Heidi Lehmann (IRC), Sir John Holmes and Nick Dyer, Director General Policy and Programmed. The panelists shared their experiences and approaches responding to violence against women and girls in conflict; illustrating what it means to reach women and girls in conflict affected areas and provide holistic services to violence survivors.

Meeting with Foreign Affairs Select Committee at the British Parliament

Najia Karimi was one of the Afghan delegates who had the chance to meet with the British Foreign Affairs Select Committee and talk about the Afghan women condition and the activities of HAWCA.

Miss Selay Ghaffar, Executive Director of HAWCA, and a prominent committed Afghan woman rights activist once again became the voice of the most vulnerable afghan women and children on the occasion of 55th Session of Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York this year.

CSW is the primary global policy-making body of the UN that is entirely devoted to examining the state of progress for women. Thirty-six years ago, the International Movement for Women’s Rights was launched with World Conference in Mexico City, followed by Nairobi, Copenhagen and Beijing to advocate for women’s rights and to access the progress. The adoption of UN Security Council Resolutions 1325, 1880, 1888 on women, peace and security and human rights are testimony to the impact of NGOs advocacy as well as to the effectiveness of the partnership of NGOs, governments and the UN.

This year’s them of “access and participation of women and girls in education, training, science and technology, including for the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work” highlighted the necessity for women to be actively engaged in the process. During the first week of the 55th session of the CSW, member states negotiated agreed conclusions to accelerate the implementation of existing commitments, including those listed by the Beijing Platform for Action.

During her mission in CSW she attended the following events which were an opportunity to influence government delegates to the Commission and lobbying with NGOs delegates:

•    Education for Women and Girls-the key to a brighter futures;
•    Integrating VAW in HIV Responses;
•    Implementing UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security: strengthening the CSW 55 Agenda;
•    Priorities for UN Women: country level work, presentation of global survey by Oxfam Novib;
•    Proposal for 5th UN NGO World Conference on Women;
•    Domestic Violence and the Criminal Justice System
•    Women’s Political Participation and Leadership: Challenging Fundamentalism;
•    Commercial Sexual Exploitation and the Girl Child: A Human Rights Approach;
•    GEAR UP: UN Women and Civil Society Moving Forward;
•    CEDAW After thirty years;
•    Women, Security and Just a Peace: Research and Action;
•    APWW;
•    Nepal 1325 NAP Launch
•    Formal Round Table in North Lawn Building: Panel 2: Key policy initiatives and capacity-building on gender mainstreaming: focus on education and training; Panel 3: Evaluation of progress in the implementation of the agreed conclusions on “The elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child”

Ms. Selay Ghaffar said: “The exciting part of my trip was that I became able to attend the meeting organized by UN NGO Committee with the new head of UN Women Ms Michelle Bachelet. The selected women from all regions attended and presented their regional concern to her. She responded to every single speech from the participants and was very well received. She said that UNW should focus on co-operation between the sexes, violence, women in peace and security, the economic empowerment of women, and that gender equity must be a national priority.”

Ms. Selay Ghaffar also attended the UN Women Launch on 24th Feb, 2011. The UN celebrated the historic launch of UN Women, with an evening including luminaries from the worlds of politics, entertainment, business, the media, music and film in the UN General Assembly Hall. It was opened up by the anchor from ABC News and then speeches from H.E. Mr. Joseph Desiss; H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon who said: “With the birth of UN Women, we welcome a powerful new agent for progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment. The challenges are great, but I believe that with the new energy, the new momentum and the new authority that UN Women brings, these challenges will be met. True gender equality should be our shared legacy in the 21st Century”. Then followed by speech of Ms. Michelle Bachelet, Under-Seretray-General and Executive Director of UN Women, who said: “Historically, we are at a point of great potential and change for women. Now we must seize that opportunity.”

The other speakers were Ms. Banana Rana; H.E. Ms. U. Joy Ogwu; H.R.H. Princess Cristina of Spain; Mr. Ted Turner; special message from Ms. Victoria Justice; Ms. Geena Davis, special message from Shakira; Ms. Nicole Kidman and Ms. Rakhi Sahi.

The launch was ended up by a song “One Woman”, lyrics by Beth Blatt, music by Graham Lyle and Clay which was composed for UN Women and performed by Graham Lyle, Clay, Beth Blatt, Gemma Bulos, Tituss Burgess, Tracy McDowell, Country Reed and United Nations International School Choir.

 

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