“We must think of those who could not flee”: how to help Afghan women?

“We must think of those who could not flee”: how to help Afghan women?

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“We must think of those who could not escape”: how to come in help Afghan women?

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“We must think of those who could not flee”: how to help women Afghans?

August 2021. In the streets of Kabul, portraits of Afghan women are torn off, advertising posters burned. Thousands of kilometers away, in Paris, Virginie Rucheton watches, bewildered, the television reports. The M6 ​​group’s HR innovation and development manager immediately thinks of reacting. “The Taliban are erasing women and sending them back to nothing. With some friends, we then had the idea of ​​creating a calendar 2021 bearing the faces of twelve French women recognized in their profession, who agree to show their faces for those who can no longer do so. ”

Read also “ Afghan women no longer have the right to play sports, and other Taliban prohibitions

In video, Afghan women banned from sport

Women in solidarity

Alexia Laroche-Joubert, television producer, Ghada Hatem, obstetrician gynecologist, founder of La Maison des femmes , in Saint-Denis, Julia Minkowski, lawyer, Audrey Bourolleau, founder of the Hectar agricultural campus , among others, accepted the challenge orchestrated by photographer Nicolas Kovarik. “On a personal level, I know the challenges that senior officials can face in Afghanistan. We had to affirm our solidarity ”, testifies Julia Minkowski . The funds collected will be donated to Free Afghanistan, an NGO created in 300, who has already accompanied more than 25. 15 girls and women, and they will pay the salaries of defenders of women’s rights on the spot and teachers who can no longer exercise their profession, explains the president, Chékéba Hachemi, the first Afghan woman to have been a diplomat. An e-learning program for middle school and high school girls excluded from knowledge will also be built with the support of the Raja-Danièle Marcovici Foundation.

Raising awareness

Other initiatives are multiplying. Thus, the authors Rachel Khan and Tristane Banon have- they quickly developed with Editions de l’Observatoire All Afghans , a collective work to raise awareness among the French, which brings together feathers such as Élisabeth Badinter , Caroline Fourest or Amanda Sthers “We will not overthrow a Taliban regime with sentences, but they build bridges of words between these Afghan women and us, constructions of ‘an incredible solidity that no Islamist will ever know how to destroy,’ says the foreword.

Profits will also go to Free Afghanistan. “Once on French soil, the refugees cannot stay in their hotel rooms, they want to learn our language and rebuild themselves. We must support them, ”summarizes Rachel Khan. Beyond France, a pan-European mentoring program including twenty-four companies, including BNP Paribas, Oréal , Sodexo and Suez, recently set up a network (Tent Partnership for Refugees) with the objective of facilitating the access of refugee women to labor market . Finally, the Emergency Architects Foundation is also setting up a distance education cycle for Afghan students.

Obliged to hide

In civil society, many have taken over, such as Nazish Munchenbach, an entrepreneur of Pakistani origin now based in Paris. Last August, thanks to the New York NGO Westchester Women’s Agenda, she discovered the story of Farzana Ehsas. Until the Taliban came to power, this young Afghan girl from 15 years worked as a journalist and humanitarian manager, giving training on domestic violence in rural areas. “Going out into the streets without wearing a veil was tolerated, even though we lived in a conservative society,” she recalls.

From the 15 August, his world is falling apart. “I didn’t want to believe it. At first, I thought about staying, resisting. ” But the noose tightens around her, the young woman must face the facts. To stay alive, he must flee . After weeks in hiding, she manages to flee clandestinely to Islamabad, with the help of Nazish Munchenbach and the NGO Pourvoir feministe. She will stay there for a fortnight before obtaining her visa for France. In Paris now, Farzana is just beginning to realize. “I have to take control of my life and find out what I’m going to do. I also don’t want to forget my country, my family, my friends who stayed there. I want to fight for the freedom of my country and especially Afghan women. ”

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Get a visa

In her office in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, international jurist Céline Bardet is also struggling to help the Afghans she knows and in particular to rescue Adeba, who worked for the NGO WWoW (We Are Not Weapons of War, founded by Céline Bardet in 2014). Adeba, mother of three small children, married to a journalist, is particularly targeted by the Taliban. Teacher and activist feminist , she has been active in her country for years. “She and her family had to leave their apartment and live in hiding until I managed to get them a visa for Islamabad,” recalls Céline Bardet. For weeks they saw the horror. Their neighbors were killed a few meters from them, some of their colleagues were murdered. Today in Pakistan, five of them live in a hotel room funded by WWoW. “They won’t be able to last like this for weeks on end. We are waiting for France to issue them a visa, which takes time, the children are out of school, they will not be able to last forever, ”she regrets. The lawyer believes that the administrative mechanisms for obtaining a visa must be more adapted to the emergency situation. “The crisis in Afghanistan has affected the French, but today an emergency team should be created so that everything is centralized, that the files are processed more quickly and easily.”

On the policy side

The 25 November, on the International Day for Combating Violence Against Women, Senator Annick Billon (Centrist Union, Vendée), president of the Senate women’s rights delegation, organized a round table dedicated to Afghan women and to actions that France and the international community can consider. “We must think of those, a majority, who have not been able to flee and live under Sharia law, and who, victims of human trafficking, remain in danger. For them, we must dialogue with the Taliban, not to endorse their actions but to keep the pressure on them, ”said the senator. Many actions are discussed, such as those to force countries that want to participate in the next Olympic Games to have mixed delegations . Since August, Afghan women no longer have any rights, not even that of playing sports . Since their bodies must disappear.