WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the below statement in honor of International Women’s Day:
“On International Women’s Day, we celebrate the leadership, fortitude, and resilience of women and girls around the world in championing human rights and universal liberties, bravely standing up to rising authoritarianism, resurgent misogyny, and persistent affronts to gender equality. Sadly, the threats, discrimination and outright violence women and girls face for exercising their fundamental freedoms remain far too pervasive worldwide. This year in particular, the international community must not look away from the cruel actions of the Taliban as it relentlessly expands its brutal assault on Afghan women.
“From Kandahar, Taliban leaders have passed edict after edict—not only rolling back protections for the rights of women and girls but threatening their very safety and lives. Through these outrageous decrees they have forced more than one million Afghan girls and women out of school. They have banned Afghan women from working with national and international non-governmental organizations despite the unprecedented humanitarian crisis overtaking the country—with devastating impacts. They have shuttered local aid groups and shelters for victims of domestic abuse while making divorce illegal, even if women are beaten and assaulted.
“Let us use this day not only to reflect on women’s countless achievements for the betterment of our society, but to recommit ourselves to the collective fight for gender equality, pushing back against abuses as soon as they occur, and taking concrete action for the advancement of women’s rights around the world.”