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PRESS RELEASE: UNAMA urges engagement and inclusion of women in political process

KABUL, 21 April 2014 – The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ján Kubiš, highlights the importance of continued meaningful engagement and inclusion of women in Afghanistan’s political processes.

Speaking after a meeting with Afghan women parliamentarians, he congratulated the women of Afghanistan on their participation in the elections – as voters, electoral workers, observers and candidates.

"Through such action women’s voices and concerns can help improve the country’s political life,” said Mr. Kubiš, who is also head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). "Women's participation in national decision-making not only strengthens the representative nature of government institutions but is central to improved development and economic indicators."

As part of their campaigning, all candidates made significant pledges on issues of importance to women. This included commitments to increase women’s participation in their administrations, improve economic empowerment and work place participation, as well as to combat violence and discrimination against women and girls.

"Voters will, quite reasonably, expect the next President to honour pre-election pledges and ensure that there is a real change and improvement in the lives of Afghan women and girls," said Mr. Kubiš.

The meeting with parliamentarians was part of UNAMA's mandated consultations with all electoral stakeholders, including regular exchanges with female politicians and civil society. Ensuring women’s full participation in the political process and in peace and reconciliation negotiations was underscored as a priority together with the importance of merit-based appointments to safeguard women’s inclusion in strategic decision-making positions and roles in the new government. In line with United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 2122 on women, peace and security both the current and future Afghan governments are obliged to ensure women's meaningful participation in decision-making roles in political and peace and negotiation processes.

“I encourage women to remind candidates of the commitments they made during their campaigns to improve respect for women’s rights.” said Mr. Kubiš. “Women have performed a critical role in the electoral process reinforcing their expectations that women will be included in shaping the next government.”
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