Women leaders gather in Herat to discuss their role in peacebuilding

8 Jan 2019

Women leaders gather in Herat to discuss their role in peacebuilding

HERAT – A group of women leaders from across Afghanistan gathered in the western city of Herat to underscore the importance and need for greater involvement of women in building peace, preventing conflict and countering violent extremism.

More than 70 participants including government officials, parliamentarians and representatives of women organizations from six provinces of Baghlan, Herat, Jawzjan, Kapisa, Kunar and Laghman, came together to discuss and highlight women’s meaningful role in local peace building processes and initiatives.

The three-day UN Women-backed event, organized by the Herat Provincial Peace Committee, was part of a national ‘Mothers of Peace’ project aimed at supporting and building a network of women working on peace initiatives in their communities.

Peace activist, Hasina, one of the participants speaking at the event, said that Afghan women have traditionally played an influential role in the family system by preventing, mediating and resolving conflicts.

“We involve women whose family members are part of the conflict to take the message of peace,” said Hasina. “We have helped to resolve several conflicts in this way” she explained, as other participants agreed and shared their own experiences.

Recommendations included the expansion of the Mothers of Peace network across the country; establishment of women-led peace committees at provincial and district levels; and the strengthening of public awareness campaign on peace in rural areas.

Despite the disproportionate impact of conflict on women, and mounting evidence indicating that women are powerful actors in sustaining peace in their communities and nations, their inclusion in peace negotiations and political processes remains minimal. In 2000, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1325, which specifically brought women’s experiences of conflict into the international peace and security agenda, and called for their participation in conflict resolution and peace-building.

UNAMA participated in the Herat gathering and earlier supported similar types of events in a pilot stage in Ghor, Kandahar and Parwan provinces to facilitate implementation of the High Peace Council strategy, National Action Plan and Resolution 1325, to enhance women’s equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.