Afghan youth’s role in peace spotlighted in UN-backed radio debate in Kunduz
KUNDUZ - The advocacy role of young Afghans in working with government to fight corruption, promote women’s equality and bring about sustainable peace was the focus of a radio debate in the northern province of Kunduz this week.
The programme, supported by the Kunduz regional office of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), was designed to encourage youth participation in public life and help better define the responsibilities of young Afghans in their work with local-level government.
The discussion, which ranged from the fight against corruption to helping women and girls achieve their full potential, was part of a series of outreach activities supporting peace-building efforts in the northeastern provinces of Kunduz, Takhar, Baghlan and Badakhshan.
Young Afghans are considered key to resolving long-standing conflict and discrimination in Afghan society. Kunduz, like several other provinces in Afghanistan, has been troubled with armed conflict in recent years. Amid rising tension, the UN and Afghan civil society groups, including youth groups, are seeking ways to move all groups toward a long and sustainable peace process.
Amina Muradi, a member of the Kunduz Youth Parliament, spoke during the discussion about the vital role youth play in society in general. “Young Afghans are the source of change in all social, political and cultural fields in the democratic societies,” she said.
Afghanistan’s Youth Parliament, which consists of three members from each province across the country, was set up to promote leadership skills among young Afghans and to increase awareness about issues ranging from democracy and rule of law to good governance and human rights.
Hamidulla Balooch, a rights activist, noted during the discussion that working for peace does not always result in major achievements. “It could be small positive social change by every individual,” he said. “If you resolve a conflict in your neighborhood, your effort is a step toward building a peaceful environment.”
The recorded debate was later broadcasted via local radio, reaching an audience of around 150,000 residents of Kunduz city and nearby districts.
The security situation in Kunduz has remained tense after the provincial capital was briefly overtaken by the Taliban in late 2015. The capital was attacked again in October 2016. Following the expulsion of the Taliban from Kunduz in October 2015, radio broadcasts resumed in March 2016 thanks in part to several United Nations initiatives.
UNAMA has been supporting Kunduz radio and television through a combination of technical assistance and outreach activities. Following the end of fighting in the city in October 2015, UNAMA supported the people of Kunduz by backing a series of public information programmes via national and provincial radio and television.
UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan as a political mission that provides 'good offices' among other key services. 'Good offices' are diplomatic steps that the UN takes publicly and in private, drawing on its independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent national and international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading.
UNAMA also promotes coherent development support by the international community; assists the process of peace and reconciliation; monitors and promotes human rights and the protection of civilians in armed conflict; promotes good governance; and encourages regional cooperation.