SAHR Statement on the role of women at the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan

South Asians for Human Rights welcomes the latest developments in the delegation from Afghanistan to the Bonn Conference, in increasing the role of women in the delegation.

This second conference on Afghanistan, taking place in Bonn on December 5th, comes 10 years after the inaugural conference instated the Hamid Karzai government.

The upcoming conference will be a major influence in Afghanistan’s continuing emergence from decades of conflict and repressive rule, and to diminish the voice of women at these proceedings would have been a blow not only for the rights of women in Afghanistan and for the country’s future development as a whole, but would also take away some sense of legitimacy from the conference.

In 2000, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1325, “reaffirming the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace-building, and stressing the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and the need to increase their role in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution.” It is important for the ideas in this resolution to be put into practice in peace building and development efforts, such as the Bonn Conference.

The initial lack of significant involvement of women in the Afghan delegation rightly came under criticism from some women’s rights groups and it is unfortunate that many signatories of resolution 1325 should be so quiet on the effective initial exclusion of Afghan women from the delegation to the conference.

SAHR stands by the Afghan Women’s Network in a call for women of the region to be supported and included in order to address sustainable peace, to strengthen current networks of women in the region in fighting poverty across borders, and to act as “a bridge between communities on both sides of the (Afghanistan – Pakistan) border” in order to achieve peace in the region.

Hina Jilani                                                                                 Dr Nimalka Fernando

Chairperson                                                                              Co-Chairperson

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