PRESS CONFERENCE: Noon, Monday, Feb 14th at Federal Building in Binghamton, NY. Topic: Unfreezing Afghanistan funds now held by the United States. Broome County Peace Action & Veterans for Peace in solidarity with national peace and justice organizations call on President Biden to release Afghan people’s money to prevent starvation and allow teachers and health care workers to be paid.
An open microphone will allow comments from anyone willing to speak to the ongoing tragedy in Afghanistan that could be reduced by an Executive Order of President Biden and US Federal Courts approval.
“Teachers have not been paid for the past three months and the Ministry of Education has very few resources,” they wrote. “There are currently more than 120,000 female teachers in public schools across the country, and about half of them are the sole source of income for their families. It is very difficult, even impossible, to ask these teachers to continue teaching without pay. We call on the international community, the World Bank, and other donors to help us fund the payment of Afghan teachers’ salaries in order to provide quality education to boys and girls, which is one of their fundamental rights.”
The same crisis faces healthcare workers. There are over 13,000 female healthcare workers, including doctors, midwives, nurses, vaccinators, and other female staff. Most of them were being paid through the World Bank via the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), but since June, the funding stopped. Meanwhile, the health system is on the brink of collapse. There has been a surge in cases of measles and diarrhea; a resurgence of polio is a major risk; almost half the children are malnourished; nearly 1 in 4 COVID hospitals have shuttered and 2 million doses of COVID19 vaccines remain unused for lack of personnel to administer them.
The most important thing we can do for Afghan women and girls right now is to call on the Biden Administration and key members of Congress to unfreeze the Afghan funds to pay teachers and healthcare workers. This money could come from the $9.4 billion of Afghan funds frozen in U.S. banks or from the World Bank reconstruction fund. The U.S. should use its leverage to get the World Bank funds released.
The Afghan people, especially the women, should not be denied access to education or life-saving care. If these basic needs are not funded urgently, millions of Afghans will continue to suffer and there will be a huge wave of desperate refugees.
Afghan lives are in the balance. Let’s not abandon them. Stand in solidarity with Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, World Without War on Monday, February 14th, at noon in front of the Binghamton Federal Building 15 Henry St Binghamton, 13901