MAZAR-E SHARIF - Women must play a meaningful role in any peace initiatives in Afghanistan, said panellists in a series of UN-backed radio programmes broadcast recently across the five northern provinces of Balkh, Jawzjan, Faryab, Samangan and Saripul.
The radio programmes, organized by UNAMA’s Mazar regional office and aired by local media partners to audiences estimated at two million people in and around the provincial capitals, featured government officials, activists and other community leaders discussing how Afghan women can and should play a robust role in building peace across the country.
Rights activist Mobina Khairandish, in the Mazar radio programme, spoke about article 22 of Afghanistan’s constitution, which states that all citizens have equal rights and duties before the law, which Khairandish said means men and women alike have equal responsibilities regarding peace.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 reaffirms the important role of women in the resolution of conflict, and stresses the importance of women’s equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.
During the programmes, participants identified recommendations to improve women’s participation in peace processes, including through creating more opportunities for their education; raising awareness among communities about the value of their contributions in decision-making processes; and increasing their participation at all levels of Afghanistan’s economic, social and political life.
“A just peace would be achievable only if women and their concerns are also heard in any negotiations, because women make up half of the society and will be affected by any decisions made,” said Amina Mukhliszada, a Faryab civil society activist, in the programme broadcast out of Maimana.
UNAMA continues to work with advocacy groups and institutions, including provincial councils, religious leaders, youth groups, women’s groups and local media stations, 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, human rights and rule of law.
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.
UNAMA provides 'good offices' and other key services, including diplomatic steps that draw on the organization’s independence, impartiality and integrity to prevent disputes from arising, escalating or spreading. The Mission coordinates international support for Afghan development and humanitarian priorities.