By: Suraya Raiszada
A consultative meeting was held on the role of women in the peace process from the perspective of women journalists, here in Kabul.
The meeting hosted by the State Ministry for Peace, was attended by a number of government officials, media activists, advocates of freedom of expression and women journalists.
“Women journalists must bring the voice of women journalists to the peace negotiating table,” said a woman journalist, emphasizing the preservation of women’s achievements, especially the role of freedom of expression, and women journalists in peace meetings.
Dr. Allema, Deputy Minister of Human Rights and Civil Society to the State Ministry for Peace, stressed the importance of the role of women in the peace process, especially women journalists, and added that women should be the active voice of the peace process.
“Women journalists have always worked to preserve freedom of expression, so the role of women in maintaining this value is very important and the views of women journalists need to be included in the peace process,” she noted.
Sayed Sadat Mansour Naderi, Minister of State for Peace Affairs, briefing on the peace talks, said that Afghanistan was at an important stage in the peace process and at the threshold of the Istanbul Conference.
She went on as saying that freedom of expression and the role of women are among the values on the agenda of the talks.
According to her, it was important to strengthen the national consensus and until the beginning of the Turkey conference, the Afghan delegation will attend the meeting with a unanimous opinion.
Pointing to the achievements of women over the last two decades, Maryam Sama, a member of the Wolesi Jirga, said that the peace process should be carried out with an Afghan plan in cooperation with the media, women’s rights activists and other people of different strata.
“Peace would not be possible without protecting women’s rights and freedom of expression,” she also noted.
A senior adviser to the president, Malalay Shinwari also said that only women could defend thier rights in the peace process and that in addition to protecting the rights of women, there should be talk and commitment in the negotiations on the progress and advancements women have so far made.
Also, Mohammad Ismail Miakhail Director of the National Radio-Television of Afghanistan, said that the media should focus more on raising women’s voices and planning for women in any sphere, particularly peace process.
Wahida Faizi, Gender Officer of the Committee for Protection of Journalists, expressed concern over the security situation of journalists and said that women journalists should bring the voices of journalists to the negotiating table themselves.
Deputy to the Ministry of Information and Culture, Sayyeda Mujgan Mustafavi also said that women journalists have always been victims of war and violence, and they will never want to be victims of peace.
Referring to security threats against journalists, Mustafavi said that war-related laws were not being observed in Afghanistan and that journalists were being targeted.
She hoped the commitments made for the protection of women’s rights and freedom of expression would be fulfilled.
Sharifa Zurmati Wardak, a member of the negotiating team, said that the negotiating team was committed to defend all the values accepted by the Afghan people and assured that the negotiating team would absolutely defend women’s rights and freedom of expression.
The meeting participating women journalists answered the questions on what was the basic demand of women journalists from the peace negotiation process and what must be done to fulfill these demands and shared their comments, suggestions and questions on the issue.
To conclude with, Dr. Allema, Deputy Minister of Human Rights and Civil Society to the State Ministry for Peace, said that the people of Afghanistan and the women have common pains, and that the State Ministry for Peace was working for 50% of the population consisting women and plans were being made to include women, civil society, the media and victims in peace meetings.