Kites for women’s rights

Rosie Pearce

Oxford University’s Amnesty International Group are launching a “Kites for Women’s Rights” campaign to ensure that foreign secretary William Hague protects the rights of Afghan women in impending peace negotiations.

On December 5th, William Hague will be representing the United Kingdom at an international conference in Bonn, Germany, at which worldwide politicians hope to negotiate peace for Afghanistan. The conference will, for the first time, include members of the Taliban, and many fear that the Afghan government will collaborate with the insurgents in order to reach a political truce.

OUAI join Oxfam, Amnesty International, Care UK and GAPS in putting pressure on Hague to advocate women’s rights in the face of a group notorious for their inhumane repression of women. OUAI will send kite-letters to remind Hague of his past promises on this issue.

Emmeline Plews from Braesnose College explained the kite theme: “since the Taliban government collapsed, Afghanistan’s traditional kite races have been re-instituted; however, although women make the kites, they are still not allowed to compete – hence kites are a potent symbol of the gender inequalities which still remain, even without the threat of the Taliban.”

However, not all students were convinced of the campaign’s effectiveness. A second year law student said: “It seems to be more cosmetic than effective, and I can’t help but think that there might be better uses of their time. However, if it works it’ll be a powerful symbolic gesture, though I’m not convinced of their chances of getting enough participants to make that work.”

The group will hold a “tea, cake and kites” event this Friday at Turl Street Kitchens from 2-4pm. There will also be a presentation running on Women’s Rights in Afghanistan and Amnesty’s Petition