What future for Afghanistan?

To be delivered by Malalai Joya, human rights activist and former Parliamentarian in the National Assembly of Afghanistan

Listed in Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world

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Wednesday 31 August 2011

Bradley Forum, UniSA City West campus, Hawke Building level 5, 50-55 North Terrace, Adelaide

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Jointly presented by SAWA-Australia (SA) the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre

When the US troops and its allies entered Afghanistan the people were promised fair elections, free enterprise and women's rights. This was ten years ago. Today elections in Afghanistan are rigged, business is riddled with corruption, and every new piece of family legislation cuts deeper into women's rights. Afghans are asking what it is worth being occupied if the country goes backwards. We have heard and seen the reports from western journalists. Malalai Joya will present the situation seen through the eyes of the Afghan people.

Malalai JoyaMalalai Joya was a Parliamentarian in the National Assembly of Afghanistan from 2005 until early 2007, when she was dismissed for publicly denouncing the presence of warlords and war criminals in the Afghan parliament. Her dismissal has generated protest internationally. In 2010 Time magazine placed Malalai Joya on their annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

When President Obama was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, Noam Chomsky wrote in the New York Times: "The Nobel Peace Prize committee might well have made truly worthy choices, prominent among them the remarkable Afghan activist Malalai Joya." Her autobiography "Raising my Voice" appeared in Australia in 2009, has been translated into German, Norwegian and French and will be available in translation in another six languages languages.

Malalai Joya has received numerous awards from organizations around the world. She has survived four assassination attempts and travels in Afghanistan under a burqa and with armed guards. An outspoken critic of the first ever democratically elected Karzai administration and its western supporters, she is convinced that the tormented people of Afghanistan can take their fate into their own hands if they are released from the grip of foreign powers and the warlords they support.

SAWA-Australia (SA) evolved from SAWA-Australia, the Support Association for the Women of Afghanistan, which was established in 2004 as a national organization dedicated to the raising of funds for human rights, education, nutrition, health, safety, and improving the self-esteem of Afghanistan's women and children, including those who live as refugees in Pakistan. Originally based in Castlemaine and incorporated in Victoria it moved to Adelaide in 2005 and became incorporated in South Australia.

In 2010 it was decided to reorganize SAWA-Australia into state associations. A new state association, SAWA-Australia (NSW), was incorporated in NSW, and the old association incorporated in South Australia changed its name to SAWA-Australia (SA).

SAWA-Australia (SA) continues to look after the operation of the Support Association for the Women of Afghanistan in all states except NSW. It is still operated entirely by volunteers.

SAWA-Australia (SA) is responsible for the support of OPAWC's Vocational Training Centre in Kabul.

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