Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the U.K. and the European Union released a statement asking the Afghan government to include women in the intra-Afghan peace talks.
The EU 🇪🇺joins 🇦🇺🇨🇦🇩🇰🇩🇪🇳🇱🇳🇴🇸🇪🇬🇧 calling for active engagement of #women in the #peace process in #Afghanistan. The rights, needs and potential of women must be respected & preserved. #WomenPeaceSecurity #AfghanPeace @DrabdullahCE
— EUinAfghanistan (@EUinAfghanistan) June 4, 2020
This comes as the Afghan government said that the High Council for National Reconciliation would be announcing members of the committee and is ready to negotiate with the Taliban.
The Western envoys to Kabul, in the statement, urged the Afghan government and the Taliban to include women in these negotiations.
“History shows peace agreements are more durable and successful when women are fully integrated and engaged,” they said insisting that both groups must include women in all dimensions of the peace process like leadership councils, negotiating teams, consultative shuras, technical and advisory teams.
“We urge both sides to redouble efforts to appoint a greater number of qualified women to these bodies.”
They also encouraged the men to become advocates for gender equality, promote the involvement of women in the peace process and consider how the issues may affect women distinctly.
“The fundamental rights of Afghan women enshrined in the Afghan constitution must be preserved and strengthened as part of the peace process.”
The statement concluded by saying that a “country cannot succeed” by ignoring its women.
“The chance for a peaceful and prosperous future Afghanistan relies on recognising the power and harnessing the unrealised potential of Afghan women.”
Other nations and organisations have spoken up to support women’s rights and empowerment in the Afghan peace process.
France welcomes this rightful statement, which is fully in line with the 🇪🇺 Council conclusions of 29 May : https://t.co/JM2jIeUhPq.#Women's rights and empowerment are not adjustment variables, neither in #Afghanistan nor anywhere else.#WomenPeaceSecurity #FranceInAfghanistan https://t.co/yU9a2A6r8h
— FrenchEmbassyKabul (@AmbassadeKaboul) June 4, 2020
The new joint @WILPF and @LSE_WPS report explores the extent to which state obligations to the #WomenPeaceSecurity agenda were incorporated into the #UNSC's country-specific work. Read through its findings, including on Libya, the DRC, Yemen, and Syria. https://t.co/s7Ch7OhZ19 pic.twitter.com/dVuPAdNSAW
— WILPF Women, Peace and Security (@Peace_Women) June 2, 2020
We, Women appreciate this statement and we are thankful for their usual support and commitment.
Participation of #women in the #peace process and in the leadership positions are crucial in this vital moment.#WomenPeaceSecurity pic.twitter.com/Zj5aYbIp94
— Adila Ahmadi (@Ahmadi_Adila) June 4, 2020
This comes a week after photos emerged of Afghan leaders holding meetings with the U.S. envoy, without the presence of a single woman, to discuss the peace process. Activists in the country spoke about how women are still not present in prominent decision-making roles in the country. Similar political photos have received equal criticism recently on social media.