Human Rights Day

Michelle Bachelet, Irina Bokova and Tarja Halonen condemn murder of Women’s Affairs leader in Afghanistan

Date: Monday, December 10, 2012

The Executive Director of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, and the former President of Finland, Tarja Halonen, have jointly condemned the assassination of Nadia Sidiqi, the acting Director of the Women's Affairs Department in Province of Laghman, Afghanistan. Ms. Sidiqi was shot and killed by two unidentified gunmen while on her way to work on a motorised rickshaw.

“The murder of Nadia Sidiqi is unacceptable. On Human Rights Day, I see this as a stark reminder to us all that the fight for human dignity and fundamental freedoms must remain our number one task, said the UNESCO Director-General. “Afghanistan is struggling to become a peaceful and just society. We cannot let violence derail that vital task.

“The rights of girls and women are keys to a better and stronger future for Afghanistan, as well as for the prosperity and openness of its society, the Executive Director of UN Women stated. “This violence is an appalling human rights violation that threatens democratic governance.

“This crime is an attack against the positive change that is underway in Afghanistan, declared Tarja Halonen. “We support the Government of Afghanistan in bringing those who are guilty of this crime to justice and in developing stronger policies to advance human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially for women.

The three prominent women leaders were at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris for a high-level advocacy event, “Stand up for Malala — Stand up for girls' right to education!, organized by UNESCO and the Government of Pakistan, in the presence of the President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari and the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown.

“Stand up for Malala — Stand up for girls' right to education! took place on Human Rights Day, 10 December, as part of the celebration to mark the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.