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Include women in new peace parleys, HRW urges govt

Include women in new peace parleys, HRW urges govt

Jan 05, 2016 - 11:15

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): An influential rights group on Tuesday asked the government to include female negotiators in the upcoming multi-state meeting on the Afghan peace process.

Representatives of Afghanistaninfo-icon, Pakistaninfo-icon, the US and China are to meet on January 11 in Islamabad to revive peace negotiations that stalled in July after disclosure of the death of Mullahinfo-icon Omar.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Afghan womeninfo-icon’s rights activists had for years raised concerns the government would trade away women’s rights in an effort to reach an accommodation with the Talibaninfo-icon.

In a statement, HRW referred to a 2014 study that said in 23 rounds of informal peace talks involving the Afghan government and the Taliban between 2005 and 2014, women were present on only two occasions.

“President Ashraf Ghani’s promises to include women in peace talks have so far amounted to nothing,” said Heather Barr, senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“The January 11 meeting is a key opportunity for him to show that his government is genuinely committed to women’s full participation in future talks,” Barr remarked.

Afghan women’s rights campaigners have repeatedly called for women’s full participation in the peace talks, as set out in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and later resolutions.

Resolution 1325, adopted in 2000, played a historic role in stressing the importance of women’s “equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.”

Last year, the Afghan government presented a national action plan to implement Security Council Resolution 1325 from 2015 through 2022. This plan includes the goal of “ensuring women’s effective participation in the peace process”.

It also includes measures such as developing a roster of “potential women negotiators,” and developing capacity building for women negotiators.

In September 2015, the government pledged to develop a detailed implementation plan for meeting the goals outlined in the national action plan, and to begin carrying out the plan in the first half of 2016.

“President Ghani should make women full participants in every stage of the peace process, and Afghanistan’s donors and allies should press him to do so,” Barr said.

“Pakistan, the US and China should emphasise the importance of female negotiators by ensuring that they also send female representatives to the January 11 meeting.”


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