NILI - Peace is the greatest need for the people of Afghanistan, said religious scholars and civil society activists gathered at a UN-backed event in Nili, the provincial capital of Daikundi.
The symposium, organized by UNAMA’s Bamyan office in Afghanistan’s central highlands region, brought together more than 100 religious scholars, civil society members, women’s rights activists and youth advocates to discuss ways to promote community support for national peace efforts.
“The people of Afghanistan have suffered too much and for too long; they cannot afford bloodshed any longer,” said Ali Mohammad Ahmadi, the head of Daikundi’s religious scholars’ council. “Peace is the greatest and most urgent need of Afghanistan.”
Ahmadi went on to say that efforts for facilitating intra-Afghan dialogue are crucial. “Peace efforts should be inclusive, transparent and just, and should be built around the concept of uniting the people of Afghanistan for a prosperous future,” he stressed.
In the wide-ranging discussion, many participants underscored the importance of involving religious scholars and other community leaders in helping raise awareness about the importance of building social cohesion as one of the foundations for lasting peace.
Others exchanged ideas about the main factors contributing to the conflict and strategized on the best ways to advance peace efforts.
“Any peace process must be designed to build on existing gains of the Afghan people, including progress in press freedom, women’s rights and democratic values,” said Yahya Erfan, a Daikundi civil society member.
“There is a strong need to promote the desire among local communities for peace and to transform those desires into a country-wide call for an end to the conflict,” Erfan stressed. “Young people and civil society can make it possible to build community support through networking, in person and on social media.”
At the conclusion of the symposium, participants jointly expressed support for all efforts to end conflict in Afghanistan and resolved to carry the conversation forward among their respective communities in future events and engagements.
Following the event, religious scholars and civil society members participated in recorded roundtable discussions that are scheduled to be broadcast by Radio Daikundi and Radio Nasim to audiences estimated at 120,000 people and around the Daikundi’s provincial capital.
UNAMA continues to work with advocacy groups and institutions – including provincial councils, religious leaders, youth groups, women’s groups and local media outlets – to create platforms, using radio, social media and television, to enable Afghans to engage in dialogue on pressing issues affecting their communities.
At almost every UNAMA-backed event, local media partners not only record the discussions and debates for later rebroadcast, but also create new programmes around the issues that are raised, extending the discussion and creating new opportunities for local voices to be heard on issues such as peace, reconciliation, government transparency and human rights.
In accordance with its mandate as a political mission, UNAMA supports the Afghan people and government to achieve peace and stability. UNAMA backs conflict prevention and resolution, promoting inclusion and social cohesion, as well as strengthening regional cooperation. The Mission supports effective governance, promoting national ownership and accountable institutions that are built on respect for human rights.