CEDAW CHAIRPERSON APPLAUDS NEW AFGHAN CONSTITUTION
The following statement was issued by Ms. Feride Acar, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW):
“On Sunday, 4 January 2004, the Constitutional Loya Jirga of Afghanistan approved a new Constitution for the country. This agreement marks a historic milestone for the Afghan people who have overcome decades of conflict and political chaos in working towards the creation of a stable and democratic State. There is additional cause for celebration: the newly approved Constitution explicitly guarantees that men and women have equal rights and duties before the law. This is a significant victory for women and girls in Afghanistan who barely three years ago were completely excluded from all spheres of life and faced systematic violations of their human rights on a daily basis.
“Gender equality is a crucial factor not only in achieving sustainable peace but also in ensuring respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law in all societies. Enshrining the principle of gender equality within the Constitution is a vital starting point for the transformation and reconstruction of Afghanistan. It legitimizes the important role played by women and girls in Afghanistan in reshaping their future and in rebuilding their country.
“As the international human rights treaty that addresses most comprehensively women’s equality with men and non-discrimination in the civil, political, economic, social, cultural and any other field, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women has a vital role to play in promoting and realizing the goal of gender equality. Afghanistan acceded to the Convention on 5 March 2003, without reservations. As Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, I congratulate the delegates to the Constitutional Loya Jirga for their courage, vision and commitment to the equal rights and duties of women and men. I will work to ensure the Committee’s continued encouragement and support for the full and effective implementation of the Convention in Afghanistan.
“As we celebrate the dawn of a new era for Afghanistan, I congratulate the Afghan people, and especially its women, for this incredible achievement.”
For further information, please contact Ann Syauta, Division for the Advancement of Women, tel.: 1-212-963-3162, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
* *** *