Clinton urged to give visa to Afghan human rights activist
WASHINGTON (PAN): Several civil liberties group in the US have urged officials to give a visa to former Afghan politician, writer and human rights activist, Malalai Joya.
Joya was denied a visa to visit the US for a three-week speaking tour relating to the release of the paperback edition of her memoir, A Woman Among Warlords. Joya toured the US last year when the hardcover edition was released.
In a joint letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Director of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, the American Civil Liberties Union, American Association of University Professors and PEN American Center urged them to review the decision.
“Ms. Joya has an extraordinary story and a great deal to add to the ongoing discussion about the lives of the Afghan people, women in particular, about the current political and social realities in her country, and about the wisdom and success of American diplomatic and military efforts in Afghanistan. Americans should not be denied the chance to meet with her, to hear her speak, and to engage her in debate," the letter said.
There has been no immediate reaction from the State Department. “Ms. Joya is an important figure in Afghan politics and a leader of the Afghan women's rights movement …We urge you to issue her a visa that would allow her to visit the United States,” the human rights organisations said.
Joya told Time magazine that the reason the official at the US embassy in Kabul have for denying her a visa -- that she is "unemployed" and "lives underground" make no sense as she has had five assassination attepts onher life and is forced to live in hiding with a team of bodyguards.
Joya us an outspoken critic of the war in Afghanistan, of the civilian casualties caused by allied military actions and the corruption in government.
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