AIRHC And UN Women Call For Gendered Ceasefires; Say It Is A Prerequisite For Peace Talks

Kabul: The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) and the UN Women Afghanistan announced on Wednesday that gendered ceasefires are a prerequisite for peace talks and a negotiated settlement.

The organizations noted that women have throughout history proven to be pioneering ways to end conflict and have been participants of the peace process while advocating for the rights of women and girls. “Yet often, women’s expertise and priorities are excluded from formal ceasefire agreements and implementation mechanisms. In Afghanistan, women continue to risk their lives every day in the name of peace. 2020 marked the highest number of women killed since the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan began systematic documentation in 2009,” the statement added.

Hence, a publication “Gender responsive ceasefires and ceasefire agreements” has been launched which highlights how gender responsive ceasefire is urgently needed in the context of Afghanistan to secure the conditions for meaningful peace talks. The publication outlines a practical set of recommended entry points for securing gender related provisions in ceasefire text as well as outlining how ceasefire agreements can address the gender dynamics of conflict.
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The publication is part of a joint AIHRC and UN Women series called ‘Sustaining Peace Briefs’.

The publication was launched at an event, wherein Dr Abdullah Abdullah, Chairperson of High Council for National Reconciliation; Hasina Safi, Acting Minister of Women’s Affairs; Dr. Habiba Sarabi, Peace Negotiation Team of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; Shaharzad Akbar, Chairperson, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and Mette Knudsen, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, were present.

The event featured a collective call for a ceasefire from Afghan women across provinces and the international community in Kabul to put an end to all forms of violence. Some of the key messages emphasized during the event included the urgent need for a comprehensive ceasefire in Afghanistan that ends all forms of violence, how the ongoing insecurity is a major obstacle to securing lasting peace and how women are actively trying to find ways to make the lives of all Afghan’s safer. The event made clear that violence does not end on the battlefield and that a sustainable end of hostilities means ending all forms of violence, including violence against women.

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