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UN urged to include women’s views in peace talks

Graphic: Dr Sima Samar, AIHRC Chairperson

The Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission briefed members of the UN Security Council on the challenges facing the country

The Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission has briefed members of the UN Security Council on the challenges facing the country and the vital need to include women in the current peace talks.

"Hope and optimism for promoting and protecting human rights and human dignity has never been higher," Dr Sima Samar told the gathering.

"At the same time, the fear of going back to the time when Afghans, especially women and minorities, were denied their rights and freedoms has never been greater."

Dr Samar told delegates that the current round of talks with the Taliban had ignited a widespread and nationwide debate over a lasting peace.

"The popular demand is that the outcomes of talks should be in conformity with human rights, democratic and free society norms and values."


Graphic: Two women participate in the Commission's national inquiry


Dr Sima also drew attention to the AIHRC's National Inquiry on Women, Peace and Security, which invited women to share their views and expectations from a potential peace deal.

The inquiry was held in 30 provinces across the country and included public hearings, focus groups and surveys involving more than 3,400 women.

"The results from the inquiry displayed the strong and clear understanding of Afghan women, who desire a lasting peace in which they play a role and are able to express their views and place their demands on the table," Dr Samar said.

She said that participants in the national inquiry "demanded women's rights, human rights and democracy should not be compromised or put on the agenda as an item for negotiation during any political talks".

"Women also emphasised the need for accountability, social justice and an end to the culture of impunity," Dr Samar added.

"I would like to use this forum today to call for a comprehensive, sustained commitment and strong political will to make it possible for women to continue to make progress and succeed."

In her presentation, Dr Samar said the ongoing conflict and insecurity had resulted in high numbers of civilian casualties and IDPs. Last year, the number of civilian causalities was 11,212, which was a 19% increase.

"There must be a mechanism in place to heal the pain and wounds of victims. We need strong institutions and measures in place to prevent the reoccurrence of violence and gross human rights violations," she said.

Dr Samar requested the support of the international community to ensure that the presidential elections to be held in September are free and fair.

She also called for international support to help Afghanistan's children enjoy their right to education, to address endemic corruption and to ensure protection for human rights defenders.

The full text of Dr Samar's presentation is available on the AIHRC website: https://www.aihrc.org.af/home/daily_report/8252

Date: 15 July 2019


Image credits

  1. Dr Sima Samar, AIHRC Chairperson - Screenshot from UN WebTV
  2. Two women participate in the Commission's national inquiry - Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission