Joya Photos

Joya's Book

Reviews | Translations

Harper’s hypocrisy: Two years of silence on Malalai Joya from Conservatives

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

Today is the two-year anniversary of Malalai Joya's suspension from the Afghan National Assembly.

BY DERRICK O'KEEFE,, May 21, 2009

Malalai Joya in Press Conference in Kabul on May 21
Malalai Joya, hours after being suspended, in a press conference in Kabul on May 21, 2007 vowed to continue her fight against warlords. (AP photo)

Today is the two-year anniversary of Malalai Joya's suspension from the Afghan National Assembly. Here is a statement marking the occasion by Friends of Malalai Joya -- Canada. Today's anniversary coincides with Codepink's National Media Day of Action on Afghanistan in the U.S. (rabble has been following the Joya story throughout, and we will keep you posted on the PMO's response ... it's been all tumbleweeds so far.)

If you want to help remind politicians of this milestone in Canada's 'exporting democracy,' the Canadian Peace Alliance has a page of resources and contact information.

Friends of Malalai Joya -- Canada

On May 21, 2007, Malalai Joya – the young MP dubbed “the bravest woman in Afghanistan” by the BBC – was unjustly suspended from the Afghan National Assembly. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in Afghanistan on that day and, two years later, has still yet to make any statement about Joya’s mistreatment.

“Canada’s participation in this war in Afghanistan has been justified with rhetoric about women’s rights, yet Harper and the Conservatives remained silent when Malalai Joya was ousted from her elected position and again did nothing meaningful when Karzai signed the anti-women provision which sanctioned rape in marriage,” said Parvin Ashrafi, a women’s rights activist with the Iranian Centre for Peace, Freedom and Social Justice and a member of Friends of Malalai Joya -- Canada.

Joya, 31, who has survived at least four assassination attempts in recent years, continues to protest her suspension form Parliament and speak out against the NATO war and criticize both the western-backed warlords and the Taliban.

Last week, Joya released a statement condemning recent deadly NATO air strikes in her home province of Farah and denouncing plans to expand the war, “We ask for an end to the occupation of Afghanistan and a stop to such tragic war crimes.”

Malalai Joya has received broad international support calling for her reinstatement and protection from women’s rights activists, intellectuals and political leaders from a number of countries.

Libby Davies, NDP Member of Parliament for Vancouver-East, reiterated her support for Joya’s case. "The Harper Government claims they are supporting women's rights and democracy in Afghanistan. Why, then, have they been so silent on MP Malalai Joya's undemocractic two-year suspension from the Parliament of Afghanistan, where she has been a staunch advocate for equality and democracy," said Davies.

While Joya has been suspended and lives under threat of assassination, the Afghan government and National Assembly is full of notorious warlords. The Inter-Parliamentary Union, bringing together elected officials from 135 countries, has noted, “…the discrepancy that while the remarks made by Ms. Joya have led to a serious punishment, her treatment by some fellow parliamentarians that she has publicly denounced has reportedly not drawn any response from Parliament.”

Opposition MPs in Canada and elected officials in Germany, Italy, the UK, Spain and beyond have protested Joya’s expulsion. After two years, Harper and the Conservatives’ silence around her case speaks volumes about the sincerity of their commitment to women’s rights and genuine democracy in Afghanistan.