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Date: 07/ 01/ 2016
Peace is impossible if we ignore half of the country’s population:
According to the press release and statement of the President's deputy spokesperson, four-party peace talks between the governments of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Unites States of America, and China are due to be held on 11 January 2016, as a continuation of peace talks in July 2015. Not unexpectedly, the voice of women is absent in this significant four-party peace negotiation. Yet again the National Unity Government has failed to live up to its promises to include women in such processes, which affect their future too.
Since 2010, when peace discussions began, Afghan women have been demanding their place as equal participants in decision making at peace talks. The High Peace Council at central and provincial levels recruited more than 70 women, promising positive development for women’s involvement in peace negotiation. However, the lack of meaningful and effective participation of women in national debates and in peace negotiations held so far, reflects weak political will and a failure of the national unity government to honor its pledges to include women.
President Mohammad Ghani promised greater women's participation during the election campaign, and national and international commitments of the National Unity Government hold it accountable for strengthening the role and participation of women in leadership and decision making. Article 22 of the Afghan constitution is the legal guarantee of equal rights and duties of men and women. Also, the National Action plan for Afghan Women and the National Action Plan for implementation of UNSCR’s resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, formally document the government’s commitment toward women’s equal participation and inclusion in important processes and decision making.
Citing these as legal guarantees, Afghan women call for their active and meaningful inclusion as peace negotiators, observers, and advisers so that they are assured their interests and rights are not compromised on in the name of peace.
Afghan Women's Network reaffirms and emphasizes the need for women’s meaningful involvement in multidimensional peace talks of Afghan National Unity Government and International Community. We expect to see:
• Women’s participation in peace processes as negotiators, observers and advisors, not symbolic but as decision-makers
• Increase in the proportion of women in this national process based on promises of the heads of the National Unity government
• Selection of women participants on the basis of merit, capacity, and national and international experience