Hundreds of women gather for peace conference in eastern Afghanistan
ASADABAD - In a regional conference on women’s participation in peace and sustainable development, women’s rights activists, government officials and United Nations representative stressed that women must play a unique and robust role in building peace in Afghanistan.
The daylong event, held in Asadabad, the capital of the eastern Kunar province, was organized by Kunar provincial administration in collaboration with the regional office of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Departments of Women’s Affairs in Nangarhar, Kunar and Laghman.
The peace conference drew more than 300 participants, including 250 women from districts across the eastern region; members of the Departments of Women’s Affairs in Nangarhar, Kunar and Laghman; Kunar’s Governor and other government officials; civil society representatives; and more than 10 media outlets, including national and international radio and television networks.
In opening remarks, Kunar Governor Wahidullah Kalimzai outlined the purpose of the gathering, which included discussing UN Security Council Resolution 1325, passed in October 2000, on women, peace and security.
Security Council Resolution 1325 reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflict, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction. It stresses the importance of women’s equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.
Following lively discussion throughout the day on the meaning of Security Council Resolution 1325 for Afghanistan, the event’s participants unanimously developed a joint statement, read by Suhaila Babur, head of Kunar’s Department of Women’s Affairs. The statement indicated that participants resolved to organize a group of 15 women who will meet directly with the Taliban and call for the group to join the peace process.
Eastern Afghanistan, a mostly Pashtun region, runs up against a rugged border with Pakistan. In recent years, residents have witnessed a significant amount of conflict, as many districts across the east are contested by armed groups opposing government forces.
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 UN takes publicly and in private, drawing on its independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent 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.