New govt urged to honour women’s rights pledges
KABUL (Pajhwok): Two senior UN officials on Wednesday stressed the need for women’s participation in political and peace processes in Afghanistan and called for incorporation of their perspectives and experiences at all levels of Afghan society.
UN Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan, Nicholas Haysom and the Deputy Country Representative for the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), Pamela F. Husain were speaking at a gathering of women from civil society groups in Kabul.
“Despite considerable progress achieved over the last 12 years, more needs to be done to provide opportunities for Afghan women to exercise leadership and play an equal role in decision-making, especially in security and governance matters, which deeply affect women’s daily lives,” Haysom told the event that marked the 2014 Global Open Day on Women, Peace and Security.
“The new government is called upon to honour its commitments on women’s rights,” he was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
While Husain said the role of civil society and particularly advocates for women’s rights and participation in decision-making at all levels was critical for ensuring sustainable peace and inclusive governance.
“Today’s representatives identified fundamental issues that must be taken forward by the new government, in partnership with civil society, to consolidate gains in women’s rights and secure a peaceful and inclusive future for all Afghans.”
Global Open Days provides a forum for dialogue between UN senior leadership and women’s organizations worldwide on the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325, which was adopted in 2000.
At today’s gathering, women civil society representatives identified obstacles hindering their participation in political and peace processes.
These obstacles included under-representation in elected and appointed bodies, especially in decision-making positions; weak awareness of women’s political rights; low literacy rates that place Afghan women at a disadvantage when competing for public office; and discriminatory social practices restricting women’s participation in social and economic opportunities.
The representatives asked the UN for increased technical and financial support in enhancing women’s ability to exercise leadership and their political rights, especially in light of the upcoming 2015 Parliamentary elections.
Furthermore, they asked for the UN to support the adoption and implementation of Afghanistan’s National Action Plan for resolution 1325.
Haysom and Husain reiterated the commitment of the United Nations to supporting Afghan government and civil society institutions to enhance women’s contributions to all stages of peace-building, peacemaking, peacekeeping and conflict prevention, in line with respective mandates.
The UN officials highlighted the contributions of Afghan activists to promote women’s full inclusion in public life, often at great personal risk.
They concluded by encouraging civil society groups to work in partnership and with the government for enhanced impact and results.
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