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    Plan giving women greater role being devised

    KABUL (PAN): The government is working on a plan ensuring women’s meaningful participation in conflict resolution, peace process and security sector reforms, the foreign minister has said.

    Dr. Zalmai Rassoul said that the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security would address the issue of women’s protection, prevention of violence and delivery of relief and recovery services.

    Addressing the UN Human Rights Council’s 22nd session in Geneva late on Monday, the minister said Afghanistan fully supported the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325.

    The measure concerns women’s role in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and peace building, stressing the importance of their participation in peace efforts and decision-making.

    “Afghanistan has marked historic achievements in helping Afghan women realise their God-given rights and access opportunities in all walks of life. Today, Afghan women make up 27 percent of legislators in the Afghan parliament.”

    He said Afghan women constituted one-fourth of government officials, including nine percent at decision-making levels – ministers, deputy ministers, directors, a governor, a mayor, a district governor and an ambassador.

    “Girls make up about 40 percent of the more than 8 million children going to schools in Afghanistan today, a figure that was fewer than 1 million in 2001, with no girls. Thirty percent of schoolteachers and 15 percent of university teachers are women,” he added.

    He explained conflicts, terrorism and poverty in the region meant many continued to live in fear and misery, with looming violations of human rights, particularly the rights of women and girls.

    Governments, the international community, with the UN at the forefront, had to keep human rights at the top of their agendas to address the situation, the minister observed.

    “At this point in time, Afghanistan is passing through a critical phase in transition to the strengthening of its national sovereignty, ownership and long-term peace, and development,” he stressed.

    Zalmai Rassoul vehemently rejected recent media reports regarding the misconduct of the Afghan security forces, calling them a futile attempt to discredit the Afghan army and police.

    “While we maintain necessary pressure on the enemy on battlefield, the government’s firm and principled position is that Afghan-led peace and reconciliation is the surest way to end violence and ensure lasting stability in Afghanistan and the region,” he concluded.

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