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Women’s participation in peace efforts stressed

Women’s participation in peace efforts stressed

Sep 22, 2020 - 14:02

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Afghanistaninfo-icon Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) and the UN Womeninfo-icon have underlined Afghan women’s participation in the peace process.

On International Day of Peace, which was celebrated on Monday, the two sides launched a case study paper titled: Women’s Participation in the Afghan Peace Process. 

Representatives from the government, United Nations, human rights and women’s rights movements and activists attended the virtual event.

“Promoting women’s rights, protecting gains and incorporating women’s voices is essential for achieving sustainable peace, inclusive development and a just societyinfo-icon”, said the UN Women representative in Afghanistan.

Aleta Miller added: “As this year also marks 20 years since the adoption of Security Council resolution 1325, we have an opportunity now to use the momentum around this anniversary to amplify women’s voices and elevate their participation on peace in Afghanistan”, stated Ms. Miller.

Speaking on the occasion, AREU Director Dr Orzala Nemat said: “Today is the International Day of Peace and there is a particular interest on this day in countries that are burning in the fires of war…”

Unfortunately, she said, Afghanistan had been experiencing violence, war and discrimination against everyone, particularly women, as they were more vulnerable and oppressed.

“The International Day of Peace, the 20th Anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and the ongoing peace negotiations in Doha are three remarkable occasions and we are pleased to launch a series of four sessions highlighting women’s political participation and the first session that took place today focused on the role of women in the peace efforts,” Nemat added. 

Dr. Habiba Sorabi, a member of the government’s negotiating team, said: “Women and girls have taken the brunt of conflict, so why do we continue to see peace and women’s rights framed as a trade-off? They are not at odds.”

Ms. Ingrid Hayden, the secretary-general’s deputy special representative for Afghanistan, said: “The intra-Afghan peace process cannot ignore an undeniable force that has emerged in Afghanistan’s recent history: women’s demands for a future Afghanistan that respects and promotes their human rights are stronger than ever.”

She believed Afghan women needed commitments and action to ensure their participation and continued protection of their human rights in an inclusive Afghanistan. “This intra-Afghan peace process is the opportunity for that.”

The study found that women’s participation in peace efforts was vital to sustain peace in Afghanistan, and that both the government and the international community must play an active role in supporting women’s seats at the table.

Interviewsinfo-icon reveal so far, the role of women has been mainly symbolic. But women have found creative ways to maximise what they can do in the confines of the space where they operate.

“This includes basic awareness-raising about peace, but also engaging in direct talks with anti-government elements,” a statement from AREU said.

The study shows main barriers to women’s political participation are society-based violence against women, ideological handicaps and cultural norms that have excluded them from political and social spaces and roles.

Insecurity has affected women adversely by limiting their ability to move freely, according to the statement. Traditional barriers such as low levels of literacy and poverty are among the other barriers.

The paper is based on findings from 77 interviews with women and men in Kabul, Bamyan, Balkh and Nangarhar provinces.




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