Meaningful participation of Afghan women in peace the focus of UN-backed event in Herat
HERAT - The importance of women’s meaningful participation in the national and local peace processes and their active involvement in conflict prevention was at the center of discussions in a day long UN-backed symposium in Herat.
The event, jointly organized by UNAMA and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), brought together 30 women from three rural and conflict-affected districts of Shindand, Ghoryan and Zindajan, as well as the city of Herat. It provided them opportunity to strategize ways forward for sustainable peace and development, taking into consideration the critical role of women in local and national peace initiatives.
Working in groups, the participants explored ways to increase women’s engagement in an Afghan-owned peace process and expressed their concerns about the protection of women’s rights in any future peace agreement. They urged that women should be included in the design of peace process and any agreement to ensure that women’s rights and concerns are fully respected. They emphasized that there could only be lasting peace if women’s rights are guaranteed and the Constitution is respected. According to them, 50% of the negotiating team should be women, from urban and rural Afghanistan, with decision-making power.
Abdul Qadir Rahimi, the AIHRC in Herat, spoke about a need to create more platforms for women for them to be heard. “This meeting shows how desperately women in the remote areas, and districts are keen to have their voices heard and to be the drivers of peace," Rahimi said. "We will continue these types of initiatives to have women share their viewpoints on a stable and prosperous Afghanistan," he added.
At the end of the symposium, participants agreed to work together to increase the awareness of women’s rights and their role in preventing violence and in conflict resolution, particularly in rural areas. They will concentrate on highlighting the effective role women can play in promoting peace and their meaningful participation in the drafting of strategies and policies on peace and security. UNAMA in Herat will continue supporting the networks that help ensure that women’s viewpoints and ideas shape the discussions on the future of Afghanistan.
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.