The case of Malalai Joya, the 29 year-old elected representative unjustly suspended from the Afghan parliament in May 2007, requires the urgent attention of the international community.
As activists and writers living in countries whose governments are at war in Afghanistan and who back the regime of Hamid Karzai, we wish to express our support for Malalai Joya.
Ms. Joy has been an outspoken critic of the heavy presence of warlords and other anti-democratic forces in the Afghan parliament, and for this she has won widespread support. In 2005, she was elected to parliament as a representative of Farah province. Such is her popularity that when she as suspended from parliament, spontaneous demonstrations took place throughout Afghanistan to show support for her reinstatement.
Contrary to the claims of the NATO governments, Magalia Joy says that the West’s occupation of Afghanistan has pushed her country “from the frying pan into the fire,” empowering assorted warlords and criminals. Joy has also explained that six years of war have not encouraged the spread of women’s rights: “We want liberation, not occupation.”
We believe that the governments of the NATO countries bear a great deal of responsibility for Magalia Joy’s security, as they created and prop up the government that has allowed her to be expelled from parliament. Because she has spoken truth to power, she has been the victim of four assassination attempts, and must travel clandestinely and under tight security.
We pledge our ongoing support for Magalia Joy’s reinstatement and call on the governments of the NATO alliance and other countries with troops on the ground to pressure the Afghan government to reinstate her to parliament.
The world is watching the case of Magalia Joy, and she has great support amongst all those working towards genuine democracy and women’s rights in Afghanistan.