Afghan women seek role in peace process
KABUL: The High Peace Council (HPC) assured the citizens that there would be no talks with the Taliban on reversal of gains, made in the past over thirteen years.
Secretary to the HPC, Masom Stanikzai, said the result of the reconciliation process would be shared with the cabinet and the parliament. He said that due importance would be given to public opinion.
Speaking at a conference titled “National Conference on Afghan Women’s Roadmap for Peace Entering the Transition Decade”, Stanikzai termed unity of the leaders vital for successful peace talks. If the leaders, politicians and other parties are on the same page and have the same voice, peace will come to Afghanistan, he said. “We must not ask others for peace. Peace belongs to Afghans. So, they must be active in the aspect,” said the HPC secretary.
Regarding women’s role in the peace process, he said that women have active presence in the HPC. Stanikzai went on to say that women from all walks of life could share their concerns and suggestions with the HPC. “The government is committed to listening to the half of the population (women),” he said.
He hinted that the HPC would establish a consultative board of women activities to ensure women had a broader role in the peace process.
Executive Director of the Afghan Women’s Skills Development Center (AWSDC) said that women should not be ignored in the peace talks. Mary Akrami emphasized that women should have the chance to sit at the negotiation table. Representing women activists, she said that Afghan women have the capacity to participate in dialogues, and the government should not ignore them.
“Peace shall be peace in real sense. Share of power is not acceptable. Achievements made in the past decade shall not be reversed,” she said.
Canadian Ambassador in Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, said that women suffered from conflicts, therefore, they should be involved in the peace talks.
“Women can play active role in the peace process. Those who are against women’s involvement must be accountable,” she added.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Human Rights Unit Director, Georgette Gagnon, said that based on the UN decision, UNAMA has the mandate to support the peace process. Ganon said that all parties should be involved in the peace and rights of everyone should be safeguarded.