By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: Special Representative of the President and the State Minister for Peace, Abdul Salam Rahimy, said at the Women’s Voice Coordination Meeting on Peace Policy that the presence of women in any talks concerning peace was essential.
The Women’s Voice Coordination Meeting on Peace Policy was organized by the State Ministry for Peace, with the participation of 32 women active in political, social and civil society fields on Thursday.
The State Minister for Peace said at the meeting that the government representatives would not attend any talks without women presence. He said that if women are not present in the peace talks then the country will go into a chaos, according to a statement from the peace ministry.
Rahimy emphasized that the State Ministry for Peace will ease women participation in the peace process and it will allow women to raise their voice with unity, the statement added.
The Special Representative of the President stated that the Afghan government supports role of women in the peace talks and it was necessary to create a group that would participate in the development of government policies concerning peace.
This group would be responsible for bringing women and active institutions together to jointly work for peace.
He added that every citizen must fight for de-escalation of violence and achievement of peace in the country.
He said that this will take time and is not applicable in the short run.
The State Minister for Peace called Afghan women the strong allies and supporters of the system and urged women to be involved in peace-making process with the government and raise their voices to advocate for women’s rights. He pledged that the government and the State Ministry for Peace would facilitate the peace process.
The statement quoted Mary Akrami, director of Afghan Women’s Network as saying that women will work not only as representatives of Afghan women, but as representatives of all Afghans on the peace issue. She emphasized on the preservation of women’s independence and added that in addition to working on women’s consensus for peace, there should be efforts on creating a political consensus as well.
Malalai Shinwari, Advisor to the President said that just as women have gained their rights with the help of the current political system, they will also defend the system. She called on the State Ministry for Peace that the coordination of women’s participation in peace affairs shall be organized by a secretariat.
Zainab Movahed, a university lecturer said that Afghan women are ready to cooperate with the State Ministry for Peace for advancement of this process.
Soraya Sobhrang, Member of Afghan Women’s Network also praised the State Ministry for Peace’s action to bring active women together, saying that the Afghan people do not accept the de-escalation of violence strategy proposed by the Taliban. The experience of countries that have gone through the war indicates that a ceasefire needs to be declared until the next step is taken for peace. She added that civil society is the strongest supporter of the government, and these institutions, especially women active in civil society, will work with the government to bring reforms and make the voice of government more apparent in the peace process.
Negina Yari, Member of Afghanistan Peace House, emphasizing the creation of a united voice for peace, said that political peace should be discussed separately from social peace. The government will work for political peace, she said, but civil society needs to work for social peace in coordination with the government.
Zahra Yagana, director of Green Home Organization, also called work on social peace important and emphasized that women should have notable role in this field.
Nawida Bayat, Deputy of Science and Cultural Affairs Committee of Ghazni Governor Office called on the State Ministry for Peace to pay more attention to the opinions and suggestions of rural women, especially those living in remote parts of the country, as they are more vulnerable to war and insecurity than urban women, according to the statement.
Anarkali Honaryar, member of Meshrano Jirga (House of Elders) said that the peace process is important and should be centralized and managed by the Afghan government.
Hasina Safi, Acting Minister of Women’s Affairs said at the meeting that to advance peace affairs, there is need for a single purpose, and women need to lead the peace process concerning women related issues by themselves.
Habiba Sarabi, Deputy of the High Peace Council said that the presence of women representatives in the peace process preserves the stability of the state, saying no one should decide on behalf of women in the peace process.
After hearing comments and suggestions from the participants, the State Minister for Peace said that the government does not seek to control the voices of the people but supports and facilitates the rise of voices by the people, the statement concluded as saying.