Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan
The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) is a women's organization in Afghanistan that promotes secular democracy. It was founded in 1977 by Meena, a student activist, and opposed both the Soviet supported Communist regime and the later Taliban fundamentalist rulers.
Since RAWA opposes all forms of religious fundamentalism, it is controversial even among women in some areas in Afghanistan, especially in Helmand , Qandahar, Jalalabad, Khost and Kunar . Much of their efforts in the 1990s involved holding seminars and press conferences and other fund raising activities in Pakistan as well as the creation of secret schools for girls and refugee camps on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan. They had little visible presence in the areas under the Taliban and in those areas controlled by the loose coalition called the Northern Alliance, as all their activities were forbidden.
They declare their current activities as: The promotion of women's rights under Afghanistan's interim government, attempting to keep women's issues in the forefront of any permanent government, and expanding educational opportunities for women. They collect funds to support hospitals, schools and orphanages.
After the defeat of the Taliban regime by US and Afghani forces, RAWA warned against the Northern Alliance as being equally fundamentalist and dangerous. They charge that the current government led by Hamid Karzai has no support in most areas of Afghanistan, and that fundamentalists are putting anti-woman laws back in place. These claims are supported by media reports about the Herat government of Ismail Khan, who has created a religious police which forces women to obey strict dress and behavior codes.
The group is nominally Maoist, although they prefer to put emphasis on their advocacy for women's rights rather than revolutionary Marxist politics—particularly when dealing with Western media outlets.
On December 10, 2000, RAWA organized a protest of hundreds of refugees from Afghanistan in Islamabad against the political situation and the killing of two protesting students at the University of Kabul by security forces.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details