International Day of the Girl Child

Worldwide millions of girls are discriminated against for the sole reason that they are girls. Today, on the international day of the girl child, awareness is raised for the problems of girls all over the world – more than ever there is an urgent need for this. We call on everyone to stand up and to cooperate for their equal rights and equal liberties.

On this day Femmes for Freedom would like to draw particular attention to the girls in Afghanistan. This is because Afghanistan is the only country in the world where girls are not even allowed to live – where girls are locked up within the walls of their homes without food, without education, without rights, without health care, without a face.

Under the terror of the Taliban Afghanistan deprives girls even of the very last thing they  had left: their hope. We know this and we see it. But it has already become the new normal and life has gone on.

Without a doubt these problems are very remote. Probably we cannot do a lot about them. We cannot solve everything. Maybe.

But today we would like to ask you to give one minute of your time.

Take one particular child in mind, one girl who is dear to you. Perhaps your daughter, a girl next door, perhaps a girl you see from your office window playing outside. Perhaps the girl you yourself once were.

Imagine it is her who is never again allowed to dream. Not allowed to go to school. Never allowed to run outside any more. Who is never allowed to work. Who cannot choose when she will marry, whom she will marry, how many children she will have. That she has to marry as a young girl because her parents are unable to feed her any longer or because she is snatched away from her family by fundamentalist men who in their cowardice need the help of a gun.

Her cradle could have been ours and vice versa.

No one of us who are free, who have choices can ever look away and say that we are powerless. As citizens, politicians, activists, everyone of us should make ourselves be heard. Make a noise on behalf of the girls who are forced to silence.

If countries exclude half of their inhabitants and take away their fundamental rights their entire society will be affected. This will impact the girls of today, the women of tomorrow and the future of many generations to come. Giving girls every opportunity to develop themselves will contribute towards everybody’s progress.

No, we cannot remain silent in powerlessness or complacency. We cannot leave these girls alone. We are their voice. All the words about international commitment to human rights, women’s rights, children’s rights, Social Development Goals, leadership, feminist foreign policy, inclusion, peace and security? These words are hollow and empty if we do not speak out loud and clear for the girls of Afghanistan.