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Our Human Freedom team recognizes Human Rights Day this week with a piece in The Huffington Post. Amanda Schnetzer, Director of the Bush Institute’s Human Freedom initiative, and Elizabeth Hoffman, Program Manager for the Freedom Advocate Initiative, write that the anniversary recognizes important developments worldwide, “but it's also an opportunity to acknowledge the unthinkable violations of human rights and dignity that continue to take place around the world in places like North Korea.” They point to several interviews in the Bush Institute’s Freedom Collection, including contributions from Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Burmese women's rights activist Charm Tong, and Syrian activist Ammar Abdulhamid, which all call for international attention to support democratic dissidents and advance human freedom.
Also this week, The Asia Foundation released to the public its findings from Afghanistan in 2013: A Survey of the Afghan People. Over 9,000 Afghan citizens across 34 provinces were surveyed and shared opinions security, political participation, the economy, women's rights, and development. Highlights of the survey show that a majority of Afghans (57 percent) say their country is moving in the right direction, pointing to reconstruction, security, and the opening of schools for girls as reasons for optimism. The results, however, also show pressing problems for Afghan women, including education and illiteracy, lack of job opportunities, women’s rights, and domestic violence.
Many Afghan women live in an environment of fear, and they worry that with a drawdown of American troops, the Taliban will reverse the progress that has been made. The Bush Institute’s Afghan Women’s Project continues to highlight these issues. Read stories of Afghan women, learn more about girls’ education in the country in our report, and find out how to support the women and children of Afghanistan.
Brittney Bain serves as the Director of Communications for the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
Prior to joining the Bush Center, she worked on Capitol Hill where she served most recently as deputy press secretary for the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary. Bain interned in the White House Office of Communications during the George W. Bush Administration.
She received her bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and her master’s degree from The Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.Full Bio
What’s Happening in Afghanistan?
While there have been tremendous gains in Afghanistan, lack of security threatens these gains daily.
Q&A with Dr. Nilofar Ibrahimi, Member of Parliament, Afghanistan
Dr. Nilofar Ibrahimi is a member of the national assembly of Afghanistan. She represents Badakhshan province in the Wolesi Jirga (house of representatives). Her story is one of survival, pursuit of dreams, and dedication to women’s well-being and health. Here, Dr. Ibrahimi shares her thoughts on the current state of Afghan women’s empowerment, the challenges women face in achieving equal rights, and the impact women have on the country’s long-term peace, security, and prosperity.
In Case You Missed It: The Breadwinner, an animated film about the strength and resilience of Afghan women and girls, premieres in the U.S.
The Breadwinner, a new animated film from executive producer Angelina Jolie, tells the story of Parvana, an 11-year-old girl growing up under the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. When her father is wrongfully arrested, Parvana disguises herself as a boy in order to support her family. With dauntless perseverance, Parvana draws strength from the stories her father told her, and ultimately risks her life to discover if he is still alive. The Breadwinner is an inspiring reminder of the power of stories, and their potential to unite and heal us all. It also provides an important spotlight on the struggle endured by Afghan families during the Taliban regime and the resilience of women and girls and their influence in building a brighter future for Afghanistan. Last year, the Bush Institute released We Are Afghan Women: Voices of Hope, which spotlights more of these courageous stories of Afghan women. Learn more about the book and our work by visiting:&nb