Youth in Herat discuss ways to build peace in their region
HERAT - The role of young people in Afghanistan’s peace process was a subject of a discussion at a recent UN-backed radio roundtable organized by the regional office of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and Sahar Radio in the western province of Herat. The programme was part of a broader outreach campaign designed to encourage Afghan youth to be more assertive in public life and peace building initiatives in the country.
“We are more than 65 percent of the Afghan population,” said one of the panelists, Mohammad Faqiri, university lecturer. “We can tackle the difficulties and build a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan,” he added.
For young people to take on more active role, those at the decision making positions need to recognize their potential, as another participant Shafiq Behroozain said, “Youth are the real players for the future of Afghanistan and need to be given the opportunity to take active part in peace and development programmes.”
Mohammad Faqiri saw this happening if the majority of young people gets actively involved in public issues, “Youth should unite to become able to create a space for themselves in decision making processes including peace and economic development of the country.”
Youth in Herat mirror the rest of the country facing significant challenges of unemployment, poverty, illiteracy and inequality. There is a growing recognition by government and other peace-brokers that any lasting peace process in Afghanistan must involve young people. This is reaffirmed by Security Council Resolution 2282 (2016) which recognizes the centrality of youth in deterring and resolving conflicts.
UNAMA has been partnering with local media in the western region and in other areas of the country to engage communities into local dialogues through traditional and social media on issues of peace, reconciliation, social harmony, transparency, human rights and rule of law- all of them having impact on the lives of Afghans.
Herat is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the western part of the country. Together with Badghis, Farah, and Ghor provinces, it makes up the south-western region bordering Iran and Turkmenistan. With close to 1.8 million people, it has the second largest population after Kabul. Herat produces 90 percent of Afghanistan's saffron and is home to the second largest University in Afghanistan.
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.