On the Occasion of 19th Anniversary of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission An inclusive peace process demands full participation of women

 

June 6, 2021

On the Occasion of 19th Anniversary of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission

An inclusive peace process demands full participation of women

 

Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) celebrates its 19th Anniversary by reiterating its call for full participation of women in the peace process. On this occasion, AIHRC is releasing a discussion paper on women rights and women’s inclusion in the process. The discussion paper is the first in a series of publications focused on human rights and peace, developed intending to generate in-depth discussions as well as putting forward recommendations to both negotiation teams and other relevant stakeholders. As we launch the Discussion Paper on Women’s Rights, AIHRC remains deeply concerned about the levels of violence and high rates of civilian casualties and once again calls for a comprehensive ceasefire and intensified efforts for peace.

AIHRC, civil society and Afghan women’s rights organizations and activists have repeatedly called for women’s full participation in the peace process and yet, the current level of women’s participation is unacceptable. Both sides should work to strengthen women’s political and meaningful participation by increasing their role at the negotiation table. Women should be present not just as negotiators but also mediators and signatories. All stakeholders should strive women’s participation in the negotiating table from 9% to at least 30%.

The discussion paper has a set of detailed recommendations to all relevant stakeholders to increase women’s access to rights and enhance their participation in the peace process.

Recommendations:

To the government of Afghanistan

As the main duty-bearer, the government of Afghanistan is responsible to ensure the realization of women’s rights by complying with its national and international commitments and by enabling rights-holders to exercise their entitled rights. In the spirit that peace and security efforts are likely to be more sustainable with active participation of women, the government of Afghanistan should more actively engage with the implementation of NAP 1325. NAP 1325 was designed with four pillars of participation, protection, prevention and relief and recovery. Specifically, the government could undertake the following steps:

  • Agree on and negotiate gender sensitive provisions in the peace agreement, such as provision of educational and employment opportunities, particularly to disadvantaged women and girls, land rights of women war victims; protection of women from gender-based and other types of violence; access to gender justice; provision of gender sensitive reparation programs, including psychosocial and rehabilitation support; provision of safe space for women’s participation in politics, police and security forces, civic action and so on.
  • Take into special consideration the needs of marginalized women and girls such as war widows, IDPs and the disabled. Despite provisions in NAP 1325, in practice little has been undertaken in this regard. In collaboration with civil society, in 2019, MoWA developed a protection policy and action plan for women under conflict and emergency situations. The government must ensure to actively support the implementation of this policy and action plan.
  • In the context of NAP 1325 and with support from the international community, devise programs to bridge the nexus between humanitarian aid and development projects. While humanitarian aid is essential in the aftermath of an emergency, development cooperation offers sustainable solutions to structural problems, thus increasing the living conditions of marginalized women and improving their resilience.

 

To the Taliban

  • Respect and preserve all rights of women as stipulated in Afghanistan’s Constitution, including but not limited to the provisions of article 22, which states that men and women “have equal rights and duties before the law,” article 23 on the right to life, article 44 on women’s right to education, and article 48 on the right of all citizens to work.
  • Stop immediately extra judicial killings of women and judgment of women in illegal courts (mahkam-e Sahraee).
  • Uphold the right of girls to education in primary, secondary and higher education (including university) and further enable   women’s education through literacy courses and other community-based initiatives.
  • In respect of international humanitarian law, prohibit all attacks on school facilities and personnel and ensure that fighters will not use schools for military purposes.
  • Take all necessary measures to ensure female health workers can travel safely and without male family members outside health facilities to visit marginalized women in IDP settlements, war widows or those who cannot travel to health centers, and facilitate women’s access to health care in Taliban controlled areas.
  • Facilitate external and independent evaluation and data collection mechanisms to assess women’s access to their rights, in particular the right to education, the right to work and the right to political participation.
  • Ensure the safety and protection of women who wish to elect or be elected and guarantee women’s political participation at all levels.

 

 

 

 

To civil society organizations

 It is recommended that the Afghanistan Mechanism for Inclusive Peace (AMIP) consider establishing a Specialized Gender Advisory Board (SGAB). The SGAB could undertake the following:

  • In the context of NAP 1325, the AWN has established Provincial Peace Committees and Provincial Consultative Committees, which entail membership from different sectors in the society to coordinate, raise awareness and advocate for women’s participation in the peace process. Relying on this experience, and in consultation with other stakeholders, the AWN could play an active role in the establishment of the SGAB.
  • Ensure inclusion of at least five women who are well versed in Sharia and women’s position in Islam.
  • Ensure there are relevant human rights and women’s rights experts at the talks.
  • Provide evidence-based recommendations and testimonies on women and girls demands from different parts of the country and negotiate core priorities of the rights of women and girls to be included in the final agreement.
  • Advocate for the inclusion of protective measures in relation to violence against women in conflict-affected areas.
  • Advocate for the inclusion of the priorities of marginalized women and girls, such as the IDPs, the disabled and war widows.
  • Establish a channel of communication with women peacebuilders worldwide, and with women in the Islamic world in particular.

 

To the international community

The support of the international community has been a key factor in the protection of the rights of Afghan women and will continue to be of significant value. To further increase the impact of its sustained support at this crucial juncture, we recommend the following:

  • Building on the EU’s strong emphasis on the role of women in the peace process, help establish a platform to connect Afghan women civil society with women peace builders globally.
  • Exert continued pressure on the parties to the negotiations to ensure inclusion of women’s rights and support the establishment of SGAB technically and financially.
  • In consideration that the international community has a responsibility to uphold core international human rights treaties that require more than mere condemnation, observe the Principle of Responsibility to Protect, particularly Pillar 2, as part of a prevention agenda and support to the Afghan state to ensure civilian protection.
  • Incorporate the HRBA framework to developments as regards to women’s rights. This implies mainstreaming human rights principles as safeguarding mechanisms in development projects as well as part of the incentive programs for aid conditionality. Ensure that more human rights benchmarks and indicators are incorporated in the government on-budget funding.
  • Increase financial assistance to the organizations that provide capacity development of women peace builders to negotiate, inform and influence decisions.

 


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