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News - Election 2014

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The Committee on Political Participation of Women (CPPW) on Tuesday kicked-off a countrywide awareness program to educate Afghan women about their voting rights and how they should evaluate candidates in the spring elections. Officials from CPPW said female voters should only support candidates that believe in gender equality and women's rights.

The CPPW said it would be seeking to remind Afghan women of their power to shape the political and system of the country, and the importance of not supporting human rights violators and candidates who do not believe in the merits of women's empowerment.

As the timeline for registration of candidates draws near – starting on September 16 – the CPPW is expected to work overtime in getting women to participate in the elections, and participate according to their own interests.

"The electoral candidates have prepared their programmes, which include peace and security, poverty alleviation, increasing job opportunities, and social justice," said Dr. Alima, one of the founding members of the CPPW. "However, no candidate has prepared any strategy for the protection of women's rights."

Among the numerous controversies surrounding the profile of many of the speculated candidates has been that there are numerous and notorious human rights violators amongst them.

"If the human rights violators are not stopped from contesting the polls, it is the duty of the women to identify them and refrain from supporting them," said Ahmal Balochzada, a civil society activist.

"Women make up half of the population, so it is very possible that they could prevent the human rights violators from winning the elections."

The CPPW urged the next President to consider the needs of women and work for their betterment.

The Cooperation Council of Political Parties and Coalitions of Afghanistan (CCPPCA) urged Afghan women to join political parties in order to promote their rights and make a place for themselves in the government. Some of the parties have asked candidates contesting the 2014 elections to publicize women as potential appointees for positions in government should they win.

In August, however, the CPPW urged political parties not to use women's issues as a rhetorical tool for political gain in the upcoming elections. The CPPW said that the need for sincerity in working to address issues facing Afghan women is desperate as too many people only give lip-service to the cause.

The CPPW also claimed that the Election Laws neglected to take any initiative in promoting the role of women in the 2014 elections. They also cited the still stalled implementation of the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) Law as emblematic of the lack of action that Afghan politicians have taken despite their rhetorical championing of women's rights.

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