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Representatives of the Asian Women Parliamentarian Caucus condemn the assasination attempt against Hon. Shukria Barakzai

Just a month ago, a group of Asian women parliamentarians gathered in Singapore to discuss common policy areas and steps forward to forge stronger women's political participation in the region. Hon. Shukria Barakzai, Member of Parliament Afghanistan was one of the delegates who actively contributed to the discussions. Just this week on the 16th of November, the caucus heard the news of her attack in Kabul and publish the following statement to express solidarity against the attack.

STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE ASIAN WOMEN PARLIAMENTARIAN CAUCUS

The representatives of the Asian Women Parliamentarian (AWP) Caucus condemn the attempt to assassinate Hon. Shukria Barakzai that took place on the 16th of November 2014 as she was en route to work at the Parliament.

This incident highlights the volatility of political opinion towards the future of the security situation in Afghanistan and the extent to which drastic measures have been taken to make known of extremist opinions.

It is therefore paramount that the government of Afghanistan apprehend future attacks towards civilians by taking serious measures to ensure safety of its citizens, lawmakers and law enforcers. We note that this is not an isolated case as BBC reports a similar attack at Kabul’s police chief, which killed a senior officer.

Members of the AWP caucus have openly condemned this act of violence.

Member of Parliament, YB Kasthuri Patto from Malaysia issued the following statement: “As the Secretary of the Women's Caucus of the Malaysian Parliament, I write this with great sorrow and at the same time (with) renewed courage as we, in one voice, strongly condemn the assassination attempt on the Hon. Shukria Barakzai…as an act of cowardice to suppress the courageous voice of a leader, a chivalrous female leader in her struggle to ensure that her people's voices are not silenced by extremists.

We, the women Parliamentarians from Malaysia, stand in solidarity with Hon. Shukria Barakzai in this very challenging and tumultuous time for her and Afghanistan and for all women leaders across the globe who heroically and valorously rally on for justice, freedom and democracy and who are constantly subjected to attacks by radical zealots as the battle for righteousness against evil rages on.

Do not fear, Shukria Barakzai, as the gutsy voice of conscience in a nation that is crippled by extremists. The only way for evil to triumph over good is when good men (and women) do nothing. Rally on, without fear or favour!”

Hon. Dr Dipu Moni, former Foreign Minister and Member of Parliament, Bangladesh responded as well: “We strongly condemn this heinous attack. We are relieved to know that our friend Shukria Barakzai has survived the attack with minor injuries. We pray for her early recovery and for her safety. We also pray for the victims and express our sympathies for the families.”

Hon. Nihayatul Wafiroh, Member of Parliament, Indonesia states that “this is not about religion. It is totally about (the) human being. And we all support to say NO to violence against Humans.”

Fellow Afghani parliamentarian, Hon. Elay Ershad shares her gratitude: “Thank God she (Hon. Barakzai) is doing well, she is brave, she survived, shame on her enemies once again they lost, and a woman won. I am sure she will never stop fighting for her country and her people. I am proud of having such a strong friend, our prayers are with her.”

Daw Su Su Lwin, Member of Parliament, Myanmar expressed her admiration as well for women parliamentarians like Hon. Barakzai who are pursuing the cause so courageously in Afghanistan.

The reality in Afghanistan remains that limits to women’s socio-political participation still stands and continues to pose a strong challenge to society and development. According to ABC news, “female officials have often been targeted by insurgents in Afghanistan.” Earlier this year, conservative lawmakers rolled back on the electoral quota for seats reserved for women down from 25 per cent to 20 per cent. This backward trend will not help Afghanistan’s security transformational decade 2015-2025 if equal rights, fair participation and representation are not accorded to all members of society.

The representatives of the AWP Caucus are therefore reminding the government of Afghanistan of its commitments to basic human rights, especially its commitments towards the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which it ratified in 2003 but continues to disappoint in with its back-paddling in guaranteeing women’s rights.

In sum, the AWP caucus calls for the government of Afghanistan to hold those responsible accountable and seek due redress not only for Hon. Barakzai but for the family members of victims who suffered in this attack.

We stand together in unison on this statement as parliamentary representatives from Asian countries. Stopping violence against women requires urgent attention at national, regional and international levels to protect and support women parliamentarians and representatives. This is part of a bigger call to successfully end all forms of violence against half of the global population. This will go a long way in ensuring peace, security and human rights in the world.

This statement is endorsed by the following parliamentary representatives:

Hon. Maria de Lurdes Martins de Sousa Bessa

Member of Parliament, Timor Leste

YB Kasthuri Patto

Member of Parliament & Secretary of Women’s Caucus, Malaysia

YB Chua Yee Ling

Member of the State Legislative Assembly, Malaysia

YB Gan Pei Nei

Member of the State Legislative Assembly, Malaysia

Hon. Nihayatul Wafiroh

Member of Parliament, Indonesia

Hon. Dina Mahalaxmi Upadhyay

Member of Parliament, Nepal

Hon. Luvsan Erdenechimeg

Member of Parliament & Chair of Women’s Caucus, Mongolia

Hon Hajjah Mumtaz Binti Md. Nawi

Kelantan State Executive Councillor in charge of Women and Welfare Affairs

Daw Su Su Lwin

Member of Parliament, Myanmar

H.E. Sun Saphoeun Member of Parliament, Cambodia

Hon. Dr Dipu Moni Member of Parliament, Bangladesh

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