Saturday 14 July 2012

Women heroes of Afghanistan and Pakistan

Farida Afridi - murdered for supporting women's rights in FATA
Lot of coverage yesterday for the shocking killing of Hanifa Safi in Laghman. Safi, a tireless campaigner for women's rights, was killed by a magnetic bomb attached to her car which blew up in Laghman, to the north-east of Kabul, also injuring her husband and daughter. She was the provincial head of the Afghan ministry of women's affairs.
The killing of another prominent woman activist, in neighbouring Pakistan, received much less coverage. Farida Afridi was killed a week ago, shot dead in cold blood as she drove from her home in Hyatabad, Peshawar to Jamrud in Khyber Agency, early in the morning.
Farida Afridi was executive director of the human rights organisation Sawera, which was working in FATA to improve the position of women in the region. This is a dangerous area in which to advocate human rights. Last year Zarteef Khan Afridi, who worked for the Pakistan Human Rights Commission was also shot dead by militants in Jamrud.
Farida Afridi had received many threats in recent months, telling her to stop her work as a human rights activist. She was shot dead by two men riding a motorbike in exactly the same way as Zarteef. She set up Sawera - the Society for Appraisal of Women Empowerment in Rural Areas - with her sister Noorzia in what is one of the most conservative and patriarchal regions of Pakistan. The organisation was part-funded by Community Appraisal and Motivation Programme (CAMP) and the German Embassy.  According to Sawera's first report, published in June, they had begun training women from Khyber Agency in conflict resolution. 
Sawera seminar in Khyber Agency
They also conducted a seminar on the Frontier Crime Regulations and held hujras with community and religious elders on women and children's rights. 
We should also salute this very brave woman.

No comments: