Afghan Women's Network

Afghan Women's Network

“ Can you build a country leaving half of its people intimidated and poor?”

Afghan women call on their government and its international supporters that women can and have the right,the capacity and desire to be involved in the transition process and need to be counted as an importantbuilding force for the stability, economic prosperity and sustainable peace of the country. Therefore, Bonn should not be another platform to continue with women’s exclusion. The Afghan women are asking for,25 Percent women’s inclusion both from government and non-government institutions as part of the
Bonn process and Bonn Conference. 

For Immediate Release
06 October 2011

Kabul – In the lead up to the International Conference on Afghanistan in Bonn, Afghan women gather to launch their voices “ Afghan Women Position Paper” hosted and facilitated by Afghan Women’s Network (AWN). The Position Paper reflects perspectives and recommendations of Afghan women who have been consulted in several meetings, roundtables and workshop by AWN. The Paper presents how Afghan women see their future and the future of their country in transition and post transition scenario. After ten years of International engagement, Afghanistan is once again in an important strategic juncture.
The conferences in Turkey, Brussels and Bonn will look for different regional and international alternatives aimed at Afghanistan’s stability, security and economic prosperity beyond 2014 while the international
community will be decreasing their military presence. 
Afghan women emphasize that any roadmap for economic prosperity, peace, stability and security missing women inclusion and participation will not achieve their vision. Women consistently remind policy makers to uphold to their existing commitment and lay the framework of transition based on protecting the achievements and sacrifices of Afghan women.
Afghan women are concerned that despite of many positive achievements in women life in past ten years, the status of the progress remains fragile and at times limited to rhetoric. There has been countless number of resolutions, laws, policies, action plans and strategies to empower the women of Afghanistan, however the track record for their implementation and upholding remains appalling. Therefore, before coming up with new plans and strategies, women urge the Afghan government and international community to reflect and review the implementation of their previously agreed obligations and commitments to
improve the conditions of Afghan women during the Bonn process. AWN will continue its lobby and advocacy with Afghan government and its international supporters to integrate and include Afghan women within the current processes in the country, if those processes are to succeed.
Please see the Position Paper for detailed recommendations:

Policy makers and government in Afghanistan reiterate again and again that transition is not about military and security matters only, however the practical experience on the ground shows that there isn’t any
attention paid to improving rule of law, governance and access to justice during transition process and how women’s security is being impacted through such processes. Transition should start from a citizen’s led vision in which women and men of Afghanistan take responsibility for their better future.
Transition and exit of international forces is necessary however a quick transition will jeopardize the investments of blood and money by more than 40 nations of the world and numerous sacrifices of Afghan
National security forces. Women organizations and activists have better access to local communities and are aware about the challenges and causes of insecurity in their communities, therefore they
should be consulted, included to ensure that security and transition plans are implemented successfully.
The women of Afghanistan appreciate the inclusion of women in the High Peace Council, Provincial Peace Council, but still experiencing lack of transparency, and also community level involvement is still missing within the national and sub-national structures created for peace process. AWN has advocated on behalf of numerous activists and women leaders from different provinces who are ready to become part of the peace process and contribute towards a community-based peace building initiative, but the Afghan government has not responded positively yet. No matter who is counter side of negotiation, Afghanistan need to promote dialogue, reconciliation with due participation of women of the country. Any negotiation should respect the minimum standards, which include upholding the Afghan Constitution in totality including all the national and international binding regarding women equal right promotion in politics, education, social development and other civic rights. AWN has continuously lobbied for 30 %
inclusion of women within the leadership and management of High Peace Council and Provincial Peace Council, but the level of women’s inclusion in leadership still remains very low.
INTERNATIONAL COMMITMENT BEYOND 2014 Afghanistan is not where stood in December 2001 during the first Bonn Conference. Despite of setback at the time, the country and its people have moved forward with the support of international community.
However, the focus of international aid has shifted drastically from socio-economic and development projects to those that support transition and peace process as part of a political framework. Therefore
indirectly, the international aid is being used for the political agendas and not for the basic needs of Afghans.
To sustain and protect the achievements of past ten years, the Strategic Partnership needs to be a binding document of Afghan government and United States. All bilateral and multilateral accords should clearly spell out objective of protection and promotion of Afghan women’s rights. The regional cooperation should focus on elimination of overwhelming poverty, low health and education indicators that are challenging South Asian region. It is important to turn the rhetoric of regional cooperation into changing the status of women and children in this region because our experiences in particularly Afghanistan-Pakistan border show that poverty is one of the main causes of conflict and among people. This year, South Asia ranked itself among the top four of the Worst places for women in Asia and this situation is not a reflection of stability and peace in the region. Dealing with regional extremism and conflict can be the done through strengthening the partnership and support for women of the region to promote peace and coexistence as well as experimenting on poverty alleviation models to address the causes of conflict in the region.

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