ASIA/AFGHANISTAN - Indian Catholic activist kidnapped: appeal to the civil authorities

Monday, 13 June 2016 violence   civil society   kidnapping   human rights  


Kabul (Agenzia Fides) - There is deep concern for the abduction of human rights activist Judith D'Souza, 40, which took place in Kabul, Afghanistan, on June 9 in Qala-e-Fatullah area. D'Souza, Indian citizen of Catholic religion, had been working with the NGO "Aga Khan Foundation" in Kabul as a technical consultant since July 2015. Before moving to Kabul, she had 15 years of experience as a social and environmental specialist in West Bengal , Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu and Orissa. D'Souza is originally from Calcutta and attended Catholic schools and universities. Since 2000, D'Souza has been actively working on gender issues, poverty and environmental conservation with various organizations. With the Aga Khan Foundation in Kabul, D'Souza worked in research and development of strategies for women's empowerment.
"The kidnapping of Judith D'Souza shows not only the dangers faced by women working in Afghanistan, but also the failure of the Government in taking concrete action to protect women who are threatened" says a message sent to Fides by Human rights activist William Gomes.
"We express deep concern about the fate of Judith D'Souza. We believe that her abduction is directly linked to her peaceful work for the promotion of human rights" he continues.
The Afghan civil society and other international NGOs, in a letter sent to Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, urge civil authorities to "immediately take all necessary measures to save Judith D'Souza and ensure her integrity and physical and psychological security", starting from "a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into the abduction and bring those responsible to justice". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 13/06/2016)