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Cablegate: 2010 Afghan International Women of Courage Nominees

VZCZCXRO3564
PP RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHSL
DE RUEHBUL #3824/01 3350438
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 010438Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3499
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 003824

SIPDIS

STATE FOR S/GWI, SCA/FO, SCA/A

E.O. 12958 N/A
TAGS: KWMN PREL PGOV KDEM AF
SUBJECT: 2010 Afghan International Women of Courage Nominees

REF: STATE 111471

1. Women in Afghanistan face extraordinary circumstances that
frequently prevent them from attending school, working outside the
home, or even living free from the fear of becoming the victim of
domestic violence. However, the number of courageous Afghan women
who fight against pervasive cultural norms to better the lives of
all women in their country is outstanding. Despite serious threats
to their own safety, sometimes by members of their own families,
numerous women in Kabul and the provinces continue their work to
advance women's rights in Afghanistan. Embassy Kabul recommends
Colonel Shafiqa Quraishi, followed by Judge Mihro Hamid and Baghlan
Provincial Council Member Shokuria Assil for the 2010 Secretary's
International Women of Courage Award.

-------------------------------
Police Colonel Shafiqa Quraishi
-------------------------------

2. Colonel Shafiqa Quraishi
Director of Gender, Human, and Child Rights, Ministry of the
Interior (MoI)
Kabul, Afghanistan
DOB: 06 November 1970, Afghanistan
Telephone: 079-773-5854; E-mail: Gmu_Director@yahoo.com
Home Address: Sarai Ghazni Debori, Karte 3,
Kabul, Afghanistan
Passport: (number will be provided in septel)
Languages Spoken: Dari, Pashto, and currently enrolled in English
course

3. Colonel Shafiqa Quraishi began her career in the Afghan National
Police and continues to work for the Ministry of the Interior in
Kabul, Afghanistan. She has served as the Director of Gender, Human,
and Child Rights since 2008, where she strives to ensure other
Afghan women are granted the respect they deserve.

4. Throughout her career, Col Shafiqa has progressed and instituted
change that positively affects the future of Afghan women in the
workforce. Colonel Shafiqa established and headed a working group to
create the Afghan National Gender Recruitment Strategy Plan, with
the vision to increase women working under the Ministry of the
Interior to 5,000 and to "Increase the membership/physical presence
of women in the MoI at all levels in order to improve the quality of
service to the women and children of Afghanistan." In addition to
recruiting more women, the plan secures benefits and incentives to
promote women in the workforce. Some incentives include childcare,
healthcare (specifically for women during pregnancy), security, and
to provide literacy and other training in an effort to maximize the
potential for career advancement.

5. As of March 8, 2009, Colonel Shafiqa has assisted in processing
42 promotions for women working in the Afghan National Police who
had been passed over for promotion for the past 10 years. She
continues to advocate for other women working for the MoI, including
in the Afghan National Police (ANP), as well as for women and
children throughout Afghanistan. Through her work Colonel Shafiqa
consistently strives to raise awareness about gender rights and the
role of women in the ANP. She also forged a strong partnership with
representatives from the Combined Security Transition Command -
Afghanistan (CSTC-A), which oversees police training. She always
maintains positive lines of communication, is consistently available
to answer questions, and generously assists with the coordination of
training for women in the ANP.

6. Colonel Shafiqa's dedication to helping Afghans also extends
outside of her professional capacity. At the MoI and the Childcare
Center she has helped coordinate humanitarian missions in which
clothing, toys, and school supplies were delivered to Afghan
teachers and children

7. Colonel Shafiqa has shown leadership by initiating programs that
strengthen the Afghan National Police. Improving the ANP's capacity
is vital to the Embassy's goal of transferring responsibility for
security to the Afghans. Her work to promote other women in the ANP
exemplifies the spirit of unity and gender equality which
Afghanistan needs to succeed. Colonel Shafiqa has consistently
risked her own personal well-being to help all Afghan people, but
especially Afghan women, as well as the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.


------------------------
Senior Judge Mihro Hamid
------------------------

8. Biographical and contact information will be sent septel.

9. Senior Judge Mihro Hamid was born in 1955 and graduated from the
Sharia Law faculty of Kabul University in 1976. Thereafter she
completed Afghanistan's Judicial Training Course and became a judge
in 1978. Since then she has worked in numerous courts, serving 12

KABUL 00003824 002 OF 002


years in the Appellate Tribunal of the Kabul Provincial Court. In
2002, she was appointed a member of the Independent Judicial Reform
Commission. In 2005, she became a counselor to the Supreme Court
Public Security Tribunal.

10. Supreme Court Chief Justice Azimi appointed Judge Hamid to be
Chief of the Appellate Court of the Central Narcotics Tribunal in
December 2008. Since then, she has served with distinction,
presiding over numerous serious narcotics trials and clearing an
enormous backlog of cases which had accumulated because other judges
feared reprisals against the court. She has become known for her
fearlessness, her keen intellect, and her admirable judicial
temperament.

11. In a recent interview with the U.K. Guardian, Judge Hamid
decried the recent pardons by her government of major drug
traffickers. She noted the importance of the rule of law and said
that there would be no justice in Afghanistan until the president
supported a judiciary under constant threat from organized crime.

12. While Judge Hamid's work does not focus explicitly on women's
issues, her courage to fight for social justice on behalf of all
Afghans is truly exemplary. Her work shows other Afghan women that
their voices are worth being heard, and that they, too, have the
power to encourage positive change in Afghan society.

----------------------------------------
Provincial Council Member Shokuria Assil
----------------------------------------

13. Full Name: Shokuria Assil
Title: Provincial Council Member
Date of Birth: June 15, 1973
Address: Pol-i-Khumri City, Baghlan Province, Afghanistan
Country of Birth: Afghanistan
Citizenship: Afghanistan
Contact information: shokria1@gmail.com; 0708 968 674
Languages: Dari; Pashto; working-level English and Urdu
No passport to date

14. Ms. Assil is a true leader who is committed to empowering women
in Afghanistan. As one of four female members of the Baghlan
Provincial Council, she embodies the ideals of democracy in her
efforts to bring a voice, opportunity, and justice to all members of
Afghan society, regardless of ethnicity, economic status, or, in
particular, gender. In her work, Ms. Assil addresses issues that
others neglect (advocating for programs for the mentally unstable),
is an innovator (starting a networking group for professional
women), and a pioneer (pushing to start a driving school for
females). She has promoted women in media, created linkages between
remote communities and their provincial government, and worked to
advance educational opportunities for young girls.

15. Ms. Assil's most significant contribution to the advancement of
women's rights in Baghlan has been to increase the accountability
and responsiveness of the government regarding the needs and
treatment of females. In one particular case last year, the
Ministry of Education published negative information in the media
about three female teachers in Baghlan Province; the provincial
Department of Education subsequently fired these individuals. Ms.
Assil challenged the Ministry. She capably argued that the firings
were unjust, resulting in the women regaining their positions,
eventually getting a representative of the Ministry to come to
Baghlan to apologize publicly.

16. In a case in Nahrin, a girl who had been gang-raped and rejected
by her family was handed over to a step-uncle, who was involved in
illegal activities. After the situation was brought to Ms. Assil's
attention, the Governor, who was from the same region and knew the
four men involved in the rape, strongly advised her to drop the
case. Ms. Assil forged ahead and successfully convinced the
appropriate government entities to engage in the case. In the end,
the family agreed to accept the girl home if the government could
remove her from the step-uncle, and the girl returned safely to her
family.

17. Ms. Assil's achievements are exceptional, particularly given
that provincial and local female officials are not often afforded
the same degree of legitimacy within the government as are males and
are often shut out of decision-making and key events.
Significantly, violence against women has risen in Baghlan Province
and the female officials here have been recipients of kidnapping and
death threats - all, including Ms. Assil, have stories of near
misses. Police and security force members often encourage Ms. Assil
to cease her work and fail to respond appropriately to her requests
for assistance. Despite the extremely challenging circumstances,
and in the face of threats to herself and her livelihood, Ms. Assil
has not only stood firm but pushed ahead. She has risked her life
to assist others, to promote the greater good, and to continue
working towards everything she believes in.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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