Women must be present at all stages of peace process: Independent human Rights Commission

Kabul, 8 Subh: The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has called for the participation of women at all stages of the peace process on the occasion of March 8, International Women’s Day.

A statement from AIHRC issued on Monday (March 8) stressed that women should be present at all stages of the peace process, including decision-making and planning, negotiation and implementation of the peace agreement, and that their concerns, demands and suggestions must be heard.

Shahrzad Akbar, head of the Independent Human Rights Commission, said at the meeting that women in Afghanistan were having a difficult year. According to her, the beginning of 2021 was also a bitter year for women, especially for women who participated in political and social activities, adding that since the beginning of the new year, six Afghan women had been killed for their social activities.

The statement from the AIHRC said that Afghan women have made significant strides in the last two decades through continuous efforts and sacrifices in various political, social, economic and cultural fields, but still face serious challenges and problems, and suffer from high levels of vulnerability. The organization described women as one of the main victims of armed conflict in Afghanistan and said that the continued war had led to violations of the human rights of citizens, especially women.

The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission called on negotiators, the High Council for National Reconciliation, human rights activists, civil society and the international community to listen to the voices of Afghan women and to address their concerns about their role in the peace process and their implications. According to the AIHRC, ensuring justice, responding to victims and addressing the needs and rights of their victims, especially women, should be at the heart of the peace process, and victims’ demands for justice should not be undermined as a result of peace negotiations.

“In the peace process, the healing of the victims, the rights of the victims of war, and the end of the culture of impunity for war crimes and crimes against humanity must be taken seriously,” the statement said. The AIHRC has called the values of human rights, fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens, the principle of free and fair elections for the participation of citizens, especially women, in determining their own destiny and the fate of the country to be “non-negotiable principles” and stressed that the parties should consider it as the red line of compromise during peace negotiations.

The AIHRC also called for an immediate ceasefire. It added that “establishing a ceasefire will foster greater understanding, exchange and trust, and create the conditions for better enjoyment, without fear, of freedom of expression, freedom of movement, freedom of association and the participation of all groups in society, including women, political groups and parties to the conflict.”

Finally, the AIHRC noted that the United Nations and the international community had to emphasize the need to protect and expand the access of the Afghan people to their human rights, and to uphold and support the fundamental rights of the people, including women, children, people with disabilities, minorities and war victims.