Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), on Tuesday called for Afghan women’s full, equal and meaningful role in the peace process.
“Gender inequality continues to prevail in Afghanistan with regard to women’s participation in peace processes, despite the fact that women are as affected by the conflict as men,” said Yamamoto.
He said that women’s participation in peace process is vital to ending the conflict in the country.
“Women’s participation in peace discussions is necessary and vital to ending the conflict and ensuring long-lasting stability. Women must be ready to actively participate in and contribute to the peace process, and they must be represented in the negotiating team and consultative bodies on peace.” Yamamoto said.
The UN envoy made the remarks at a seminar in Kabul which was entitled ‘Afghanistan-wide Global Open Days’ events, a series of nationwide dialogues around women, peace and security
At the final meeting of the provincial Open Days consultations in Kabul, 30 gender-equality advocates shared with the UN the most pressing concerns and priorities for peace, UNAMA said in a statement.
Participants of the event highlighted challenges for women’s meaningful participation in peace processes – as peacebuilders, activists, advocates, mediators and negotiators – as well as opportunities to amplify women’s voices and ensure they are at the negotiating table.
“Not only does peace last longer when women lead and participate in peace processes, but also women have a right to participate in negotiating peace in Afghanistan,” said Aleta Miller, the UN Women Country Representative for Afghanistan.
“No decisions on the future of Afghanistan should be made without the full participation of all citizens affected by that future, and no peace process will be complete and lasting without the direct involvement of women," she said.
Those in attendance spoke about the need to overcome barriers to women’s voices being heard in peace discussions. Those obstacles, the participants noted, are compounded by general insecurity as well as targeted attacks against women’s human rights defenders, including journalists, activists and high-profile women leaders.
The remarks come as the Afghan government and its international allies have accelerated their efforts to break the stalemate in the peace process.