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Women be given representation in peace talks: HRW

KABUL: The unity government should commit to include women on the negotiating team for any future peace talks with the Taliban, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement.

“If peace talks in Afghanistan move forward, all parties should ensure that women have a meaningful presence on the negotiating teams. President Ghani should protect human rights – especially women’s rights – by including women on the government’s negotiating team,” said Heather Barr, senior women’s rights researcher at HRW.

The statement said that recent Afghan government statements indicated efforts to restart peace negotiations, but provided no clarity on government plans to “ensure increased representation of women” in all decision-making and mechanisms regarding conflict resolution, as set out in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and later resolutions.

It recalled that during past efforts at peace negotiations, Afghan women’s rights activists had repeatedly spoken out about their fears that the government would trade away women’s rights in an effort to reach an accommodation with the Taliban.

Previous negotiations have typically occurred with little transparency, with the public often learning of them only after they occurred, it added.

“President Ghani has an opportunity to pursue peace negotiations in a manner that will reassure all Afghans that their human rights concerns will be taken into account,” Barr said. (PAN)

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