Statement by Special Representative and Head of the EU Delegation to Afghanistan Ambassador Vygaudas Ušackas on behalf of the EU Member States and to which Norway aligns itself on the occasion of International Women's Day (07/03/2012)
Kabul, 8 March 2012
Equality between women and men is a fundamental right, a common value of the European Union and a necessary condition for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth both within the European Union and abroad, as well as a key principle in its external action.
International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the strength and power of women. Women make up more than half of our population and play a hugely important role in all aspects of society. We need to encourage women in their economic independence, increasing their chances of achieving their full potential. Individual women, their families and society as a whole all will see huge social, economic, political and cultural benefit as a result. That is why the European Union strongly promotes women’s rights and gender equality and fights discrimination and violence against women and girls.
Let me take the opportunity to raise an issue of concern. In the last months we have seen several cases of violence against women in Afghanistan. The Afghan government, the Afghan people and the international community were unified in their condemnation of these horrific acts and demanded that the perpetrators of these acts were brought to justice. The protection of women against gender related violence, including sexual violence, trafficking and early and forced marriages deserve our continuous support. That is why the European Union will continue to lend its support to programs that advocate women’s rights and assist the victims of violence against women.
On this day the European Union reaffirms its commitment to protect and promote women’s rights, gender equality and women's empowerment. The European Union and its Member States stand ready to support the Government of Afghanistan and Afghan civil society groups in their initiatives to this end within the framework of the Afghan Constitution and Afghanistan’s international obligations on women’s rights.
For further information please contact:
Communication and Information Section
EU Delegation to Afghanistan