Bamyan young leaders discuss their involvement in democracy and peace efforts
BAMYAN – Young men and women must be a central part of peace process in Afghanistan, said participants at a peace dialogue organized in Bamyan.
During the first event of a series of meetings planned to engage youth within the central highlands in discussions about peace, democracy and human rights, over 40 participants gathered in Bamyan to exchange knowledge, experience and ideas about building safer and violence-free communities.
According to a civic activist, Habib Ikhlaqi, youth in Bamyan have played a role in conflict resolution efforts within their communities, as well as supporting the promotion of a peaceful environment. In his view, building trust among communities to prevent local disputes is the best way to support the peace process.
Another contributor, Amirjan Kowsari, a youth group leader from Bamyan, stressed the need for ensuring women’s rights and justice. “For me, peace means that we build on existing gains,” Kowsari said.
The participants agreed that youth involvement in peace is more urgent now than ever. They called for support and the meaningful inclusion of young people in local and national peace processes, as well as addressing their legitimate demands for education, decent work, security and economic opportunities - all of which they said promote and contribute to peace.
Afghanistan has one of the largest youth population in the world. According to some estimates, three-quarters of Afghans are below the age of 30, making young people a vital demographic not only in shaping the country’s development agenda but also in defining its future. However, Afghanistan’s protracted 40 year-long conflict has left a heavy impact on the lives and future of young women and men who face mounting challenges including poverty, illiteracy and unemployment.
The UN recognizes and affirms the role and power of young people as valuable peace partners, leaders and changemakers, without whose involvement peace is neither possible nor sustainable.
In 2015, the Security Council adopted UNSCR 2250, dedicated entirely to recognizing the importance of engaging young women and men in shaping and sustaining peace. UNSCR 2250 calls on Member States to include young people in their institutions and mechanisms to prevent violent conflict and to support existing youth engagement on peace and security worldwide.
The event, part of a Local Peace Initiative organized by the UNAMA regional office in Bamyan, is part of a series of dialogues taking place across the region underscoring an inclusive peace architecture based on democratic and human rights principles.
In accordance with its mandate as a political mission, UNAMA supports the Afghan people and government to achieve peace and stability. UNAMA supports initiatives aimed at preventing conflict and providing for its resolution, promoting inclusion and social cohesion, as well as strengthening regional cooperation. The Mission supports effective governance, promoting national ownership and accountable institutions that are built on respect for human rights.
UNAMA provides 'good offices' and other key services, including diplomatic steps that draw on the organization’s independence, impartiality and integrity to prevent disputes from arising, escalating or spreading. The Mission coordinates international support for Afghan development and humanitarian priorities.