Local Women & Youth Peacebuilders Demand to Participate in Afghan Peace Process
Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, Permanent Missions of Norway, UK, Indonesia and Afghanistan to UN, UN Women, Youth Ambassadors for Peace Organization, Afghanistan Women's Education Centre, Afghanistan State Ministry for Peace, Georgetown Institute Women, Peace and Security
Women in power and decision-making, Human rights of women, Violence against women, Women and armed conflict
SDG4 – Quality Education, SDG5 – Gender Equality, SDG 10 – Reduced Inequality, SDG16 – Peace and Justice Strong Institutions, SDG17 – Partnerships to achieve the Goal
Harassment (2016), Tolerance of Minority Groups (2016), Child Marriage (2016), Building Peace through Women’s Education (2019)
Our local CFUW-Ottawa Club has a very active study and external outreach group, University Women Helping Afghan Women that has 3 goals – to learn of issues facing Afghan women and girls, to raise awareness of such locally, nationally and internationally , and to act how we can. Over the years a supported the CFUW National Afghanistan Study Group. This year we identified CFUW members across the country to work with GWI-NL in an GWI NFA2NFA joint project, Afghanistan Peace Negotiations: Their Perilous Significance of Women in Afghanistan. We hope to interest other NFAs going forward. The common link with all groups is to learn, to raise awareness and to act as we can to support the women at this very crucial time for them.
A superb series of speakers addressed the specific theme of the need for local women and youth to be involved in the peace process in Afghanistan. Unless women and youth are included the peace will not be sustainable. Instead indeed the Taliban have increased their campaign against women and youth. Afghanistan is at a critical juncture. Afghan women and youth make up the biggest groups in Afghanistan and their voices must be heard. They must be part of the talks. Ambassadors to the UN from Afghanistan, Norway, the UK and Indonesia all echoed this point. Times have changed. Women are speaking up. The peace process must be Afghan led. It is critical that women's rights and their leadership be at the centre in Turkey. At least a quiet of 30% should be women. Indeed we must make sure their rights are not undermined. Their voices must be amplified and they must come from all provinces of Afghanistan. Women bring different perspectives to the peace table and have proven to be able to contribute to lasting peace. Life in much of the country is still patriarchal and many young women are not given an opportunity to make choices. While others are educated and there is no turning back. They want a voice. Both women and youth are seeking the support of the international community. Women and human rights must be at the forefront. Military spending should be reduced and spending on infrastructure increased. Donor funding should be increased. Accurate data needs to be collected. COVID has had a devastating effect. Locals need to participate in then peace process. Tokenism is not sufficient. Locals will need to deal with community healing and accept people back. Women will have to respect the Taliban but the Taliban will need to respect the women. Work must continue but must be accelerated.
Knowledge learned can build on what we have as we continue our work.

CFUW Members involved will continue to work with awareness and advocacy locally and on our NFA2NFA project.

Author: Hally Siddons

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