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Media Release

March 8 2007

Afghanistan’s ‘most famous woman’ speaks out on justice

Malalai Joya - Working for women's rights in AfghanistanMalalai Joya is known as Afghanistan’s most famous woman. The 28-year-old Afghani Member of Parliament, who made her name as a woman's rights activist in Afghanistan, will speak at a lecture series Focus on Rights for UniSA’s Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre in association with UNIFEM Australia and the Support Association for the Women of Afghanistan (SAWA).

Speaking on Afghanistan, Joya will share her thoughts and experiences on women’s issues in Afghanistan, her fight against drug barons and warlords, and her election to parliament.

One of the prominent winners in Afghanistan's landmark parliamentary elections, Joya is an outspoken critic of the country's warlords and has survived three attempts on her life and experienced death threats for her determined stand to rebuild Afghanistan as a civil society.

"I will do my best to stop the warlords and criminals from building any laws that will jeopardise the rights of Afghan people, especially the women," Joya has told the world media.

Joya, a women's literacy and health worker, took her seat in the 249-seat National Assembly, or Wolesi Jirga, representing the remote province of Farah. Her work has been widely recognised, including The World Economic Forum selecting her among 250 Young Global Leaders for 2007.

Director of the Hawke Centre Elizabeth Ho commented that it was a great coup to have secured her visit to South Australia, resulting from Joya’s appreciation of local SAWA efforts to support Afghani women.

“If we are searching for inspiring leaders on the global stage, then Joya must already be among them. In our society to become a politician is a relatively secure privilege. For Malalai Joya it is a statement of her unflinching commitment to a just society, for which she daily risks her own life. Her stand on education for women is one that we can only admire in the face of extremist attitudes that would deny half of Afghanistan’s population the right to learn,” said Ho.

What: Malalai Joya MP: “The most famous woman in Afghanistan” (BBC)
Speaking on Justice for Women In Afghanisatan
Focus on Rights lecuture series, The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, UniSA

Where: UniSA City East Campus, Mutual Community Theatre, Basil Hetzel Building (off Frome Road)

When: Tuesday 13 March, 2007, 5:45pm for 6pm start

Registration is essential via the Hawke Centre website or telephone 8302 0215.

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