Afghanistan’s Women Network, AWN
Kabul, November 2017
Youths make over 60% of Afghanistan population and they are a driving force in social, economic and political fields that have effective role in maintaining of peace and security. In a country where youth makes over 60% of its population, excluding them from peace and security process was not only a catastrophe but can also call a failure in vision, strategy and tactic to achieve sustainable peace. Since the inauguration of peace council and even after the reform of it, youth and their roles have been undermined and excluded to sidelined from the peace process unexpectedly
With all due respect to Afghanistan’s tradition, culture and appreciated practice of elders’ mediation in peace making role, ignoring youths and women as well as other groups in the society could be a fatal mistake to the success of achieving a successful peace in Afghanistan.
Whereas the AWN believes in peace and security from the rights based and inclusive approach, hereby it states and demands the following:
- Afghanistan is in conspiracy war and conflict imposed on the country, no doubt. However, youths are, somehow engaged in this war, either as a warrior, as a victim, as a savior or as a force for providing support to the conflict affected community and region by doing humanitarian work.
- Youths must be included and encouraged to be part of peace building and peace negotiation and their youthful energy, ambition and skills should better use for the sake of promoting peace at local, provincial and national levels.
- Youths represent the diversity, richness, strength and volcanic energy for a prospers, peaceful and stable Afghanistan. Therefore, tapping on this invaluable rich, strength and energy and investing in their potential is instrumental in achieving peace and stability in the country.
- The socio-economic needs of youth and reality of their existence requires that they must be equipped and their capacities be built as peace mobilizers, mediators and peace educators. Youth as victims of war and conflict often face various lost opportunities like education, employment, health, and social protection. In order to make up for this, the peace council and the National Unity Government must devise policies and programs that is responsive and adequate in addressing their lost opportunities.
- The current structure of the High Peace Council lacks a mechanism to include youth, women and other vulnerable group in a meaningful and effective way and it’s recommending to heed the current shortfalls is paramount to the inclusivity and representation mechanism of the peace process and its success.
- The reality of war and its effect on youth and other vulnerable groups like women and minorities must be clearly understood and mitigation mechanism within the framework of High Peace Council must be crafted and operationalized. The existing plan of women, peace, and security could be a guiding tool in this respect.
- A balance between the advisory role of youth and women and their real and full participation must be explored and maintained. In this spirit, it is recommended to have an advisory board consist of youth and women that is functional at the High Peace Council HQs as well as at the provincial level.
- Youths Active participation in peace building could be facilitated through arts, culture, cinema, sports, education, and particularly through peace and human rights education (at the school and college levels). This provides a wider perspective for youth’s engagement in supporting peace negotiation, peace process and ultimate achievement of a sustainable peace.
- Youth engagement in safeguarding values and social and appreciated cultural and traditional principles including social justice, pluralism, tolerance, and rejecting hatred and violence must be encouraged.