Artists Including Meryl Streep, Sting, Joan Baez, Cynthia Nixon, Yoko Ono and Patrick Stewart Sign Amnesty International Letter to Presidents Obama and Karzai on Afghan Women's Rights

Press Release
May 20, 2012

Artists Including Meryl Streep, Sting, Joan Baez, Cynthia Nixon, Yoko Ono and Patrick Stewart Sign Amnesty International Letter to Presidents Obama and Karzai on Afghan Women's Rights

Stars Support Open Letter Released at Amnesty International's "Shadow Summit" for Afghan Women As NATO Leaders Gather in Chicago

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, strimel@aiusa.org, 212-633-4150

(Chicago) -- Meryl Streep, Sting, Joan Baez, Cynthia Nixon, Yoko Ono and Sir Patrick Stewart signed their names to an Amnesty International open letter released Sunday to President Obama and President Karzai, calling on them to give women a voice in the conversation about Afghanistan’s future. The letter was released by Amnesty International as it staged a "Shadow Summit for Afghan Women” hours before the NATO Summit got underway in Chicago.

Joining the artists as signatories were authors, including Stephen King, Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner) and playwright Lynn Nottage (Ruined, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark).

Signatories included former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, feminist Gloria Steinem, Nobel Peace Laureates Jody Williams and Shirin Ebadi, along with a roster of leading Afghan women’s rights advocates.

Read the open letter:  http://amnestyusa.org/obamaandkarzailetter
Read the list of signatories: http://amnestyusa.org/afghanwomensignatories

"The women of Afghanistan have come too far to see their rights vanish," said Frank Januzzi, head of Amnesty International USA's Washington office. "They must be part of the conversation about the future of Afghanistan or that future will look very bleak indeed. No one wants a return to the days when the Taliban banned women and girls from schools and work, and held them as virtual prisoners in their own country. This would be the ultimate catastrophe after a decade of gains for women. We hope the voices of these notable signatories will add to the pressure on Presidents Obama and Karzai to follow through on the promise of human rights for all women in Afghanistan."

Amnesty International urged Presidents Obama and Karzai to adopt eight key steps to make sure Afghan woman can continue the progress they have made on rights and freedoms after the troops leave in 2014.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

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