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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 187th session
(Geneva, 6 October 2010)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Ms. Malalai Joya, a member of the House of Representatives of Afghanistan, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/187/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 186th session (April 2010),

Noting that, at its session held during the 123rd IPU Assembly, the Committee held a hearing with the leader of the Afghan delegation,

Recalling the following: in May 2007, the House of Representatives suspended Ms. Joya for the rest of her term of office; even though the Deputy Speaker stated during the hearing held in October 2008 that she would be reinstated, Afghan delegations to subsequent IPU Assemblies stated that, for that to happen, Ms. Joya would have to apologize for the statements motivating her de facto expulsion; male colleagues who used offensive language against Ms. Joya and threatened her with rape and death have merely been reprimanded by the Speaker; the Supreme Court has not acted on her complaint regarding the decision to suspend her for the rest of her term; the House of Representatives has even brought a legal case against Ms. Joya, requesting that she be prosecuted for insulting public institutions,

Noting with regard to the decision of the House of Representatives to request her prosecution thata member of the Afghan delegation to the 122nd IPU Assembly reported that this was not an important matter and that the House “would stop that”; noting, however, that the sources are unaware that Ms. Joya has received notification that the case against her has been withdrawn,

Noting that a letter from the IPU Secretary General to President Karzai on this case has remained unanswered, as have all the Secretary General’s letters to the Speaker of the House of Representatives,

Considering that, according to one of the sources, during the last sitting of the previous House of People’s Representatives, several members took the floor to state that the House should rectify two unlawful decisions it had adopted during its legislative term, namely the adoption of an amnesty law and the suspension of Ms. Malalai Joya; that, however, the Speaker allowed no debate on the issue and simply left the plenary room,

Noting that Ms. Joya did not stand in the September 2010 elections,

Bearing in mind that, in September 2009, the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) published a report on violence against women in Afghanistan entitled “Silence is violence”, which shows that the risk to women in Afghanistan has increased in recent years, that the pattern of violence against women in public life sends a strong message to all women to stay at home, and that the perpetrators enjoy impunity,

  1. Thanks the leader of the Afghan delegation for his cooperation; nevertheless deeply regrets that the Speaker of the House has never seen fit to respond to the letters which the Secretary General has addressed to him on behalf of the IPU, let alone taken into account its concerns and considerations;

  2. Notes with particular regret that the statement made to it regarding the withdrawal of the legal case of the House of Representatives against Ms. Joya has apparently remained without effect;

  3. Deplores the failure of the House of Representatives to redress, at least symbolically, the injustice done to Ms. Joya and her electorate by expelling her from parliament without any legal basis and by depriving her electorate for more than three years of representation in parliament, and the fact that it has ignored appeals of its own members to rectify the unlawful decision revoking her mandate;

  4. Deplores the parliamentary authorities’ discriminatory treatment of Ms. Joya, as reflected in the fact that they merely reprimanded her male colleagues who had used highly offensive language against her and never asked them to apologize, while expelling her from parliament for critical statements regarding some of her colleagues;

  5. Also deplores the failure of the Supreme Court to act on the complaint that Ms. Joya filed regarding the decision of the House of Representatives to suspend her mandate, thus de facto denying her the right to seek legal redress before a court;

  6. Is led to believe that Ms. Joya’s decision not to stand in the elections is largely due to how parliament has treated her; deeply regrets this state of affairs as it can only deter women from participating in Afghan political life and hence prolong a state of affairs that has seriously undermined respect for women’s rights in Afghanistan and thus has also been detrimental to respect for human rights in general;

  7. Concludes that,in the light of the information on file, it is led to condemn the Afghan authorities for having violated Ms. Joya’s right to exercise her parliamentary mandate and the right of her electorate to be represented in parliament on the one hand and, on the other, for having denied Ms. Joya the right to seek legal redress and the right to equality before the law;

  8. Sincerely hopes that the new parliament will ensure respect for the parliamentary and human rights of all its members, men and women alike;

  9. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the parliamentary authorities, to the sources and to interested parties;

  10. Decides to close this case since no further possibility remains of redressing the injustice done to Ms. Joya.
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