Afghanistan is at an important juncture in its history. On April 5th Afghan women and men reaffirmed their commitment to democracy and the peaceful transfer of power through their widespread participation in the presidential election, in the hope of securing a better future for themselves and their children.
We the undersigned congratulate the two prime candidates Dr.AbdullahAbdullah and Dr.Ashraf GhaniAhmadzai. We commend them for not compromising the results of the election and for showing their readiness fora second round of elections in conformity with Afghan law, allowing the women and men of Afghanistan, God willing, to participate in selecting a government that best represents them.
We, as equal citizens of this country, recognize the achievements of more than a decade in our nation’s struggle with the support of the Afghan government and international community. The equal rights enshrined in Afghanistan’s Constitution (2004) for both women and men of this country, the high participation of women in leadership and politics through political quotas (Parliament, Senate, and Provincial Councils) and the affirmative action engendered by there cognition of historical setbacks and suffering that women have experienced are some of the important achievements of our time.
Despite several setbacks and challenges there have been landmark changes in women’s socio-political status when compared to pre-2001where oppression against women was institutionalized, confining women to their homes. The momentum of progress made over the last decade must be sustained with the change of national leadership set to take place. Women’s health, education, and leadership for strengthening governance should be a priority. Women’s inclusion should be considered as an integral standard of good governance, not a superficial commitment to the international community. Women’s voices should be counted just as their vote counts and defines the elections.
Endorsement will indicate a commitment to reflect the recommendations outlined below in your action plans, policies, and commitments for your five-year term, should you be elected. Commitment should include concrete steps for advancing implementation of the National Action Plan for Women of Afghanistan (NAPWA), Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) Law, and other national and international commitments that have been adopted over the last decade and reinforced by commitments made in the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework(July 2012).
- Continue the implementation and close monitoring of the “National Education Strategic Plan”.
- Observe the“ Increasing of Girls Enrollment to Primary and Secondary Education” policy.
- Sensitize school curriculum to reflect commitment to women’s rights and a violence-free culture that promotes a just and peaceful society.
- Allocate a specific budget for women’s expanded access to higher education nationally and internationally.
- Plan and implement long-term strategies for professional capacity building of female and male schoolteachers and university professors.
- Address high mortality rates of mothers and infants.
- Maintain basic health centers in remote areas, while improving hospital standards in cities.
- Provide capacity to public health facilities to counter violence against women by effectively collecting and documenting evidence while also providing immediate medical and psychological support.
- Increase the number of trained gynecologists and midwifes in the provinces and capitol by provide scholarships and other incentives.
- Safeguard quotas for women’s political participation in the parliament, senate, and provincial councils.
- Commit to ensure25% of political posts including cabinet, local government, ministries, embassies and international missions are filled by women.
- Instituteshort-term and long-term programs for the recruitment of women in key and decision-making positions.
- Allocate specific funds for implementation of commitments made under the “Afghanistan National Development Strategy” and “National Action Plan for Women” to recruit and promote women to in all level of civil services, ensuring a minimum of 30% women.
Justice and Judicial:
- Affirm a commitment to implement the EVAW law, as per Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework endorsed July 2012.
- Increase the appointment of women to key judicial and legal positions, ensuring a minimum of 25% women in all related institutions.
- Appoint a minimum of one female judge to the High Council of Supreme Court
- Support women’s shelters and legal aid centers addressing the needs of women affected by gender-based violence.
- Sensitize and equip the Afghan National Police to address violence against women, including explicit focus on building the capacity and resourcing of the Family Response Units.
Peace and Security:
- Cultivate a commitment to developing national security forces that are inclusive, representative of the Afghan population, and able to address the security needs of both women and men.
- Create an enabling environment for the recruitment, retention, and security of women in the Afghan National Police.
- Build the capacity of women police to serve in oversight and leadership roles.
- Require instruction on human rights, women’s rights, civilian protection, and gender-based violence in the Police and Army Training Academies.
- Involve women at all levels of decision-making related to the peace process, including women in the peace efforts at the community level, on the High Peace Council, Provincial Peace Committees, and civil society.
- Address the needs of women in the families of fighters who have chosen to reintegrate.
- Ensure the inclusion of women in the vetting of potential reintegrates, related community recovery, and local grievance resolution.
- Finalize and implement the“ National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security” to fulfill Afghanistan’s obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1325.
- Develop and enforce women-friendly labor laws and employment policies in both government and the private sector.
- Support women entrepreneurs as a means of enabling broader economic development.
- Ensure a minimum of 25% of businesses in all National Industrial Parks already in use or soon-to-be established are women owned.
- Recognize women’s roles in the agricultural sector and expand their access to basic inputs such as seeds and fertilizer, as well as transportation to and from markets.