Statement of Afghanistan Women’s 50% Campaign on Tokyo Conference
3 July 2012
We demand peace with the just, not with human rights violators and war crimes suspects
Afghanistan is going through one of its most important periods of history. Decisions taken in this period will either take Afghanistan towards a democratic, advanced and progressive country or will once again spread the horrendous shadows of the dark days of Taliban upon it. Insecurity, suicide attacks, killings of civilians and violent and reactionary actions against the people, in particular the women, are on the rise.
Eight years since the last visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, the indicators point at gross discriminations against women. In spite of positive achievements in respect of women’s rights, e.g. establishment of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, women’s participation in government institutions, and Afghanistan’s accession to the Convention for Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, violence against women has continue and is increasing. Sexual violence, tribal customs such as bad (giving women in exchange for settlement of violent disputes), holding of informal parallel courts, imposing stoning sentences, murder, torture, threats and intimidation, poisoning of water in girls’ schools, acid throwing etc indicate both the perpetuation and extent of violence against women as well as throw into question the prevalence of law and government control in many regions and provinces.
The government of Afghanistan shall be raising the issues of peace, security and good governance for a democratic Afghanistan in the Tokyo Conference. The fundamental question, however, is: how can those important goals be achieved in view of the government’s endeavours, actions and macro decisions to share power with the Taliban?
Reconciliation with the Taliban, for which the government and its international partners have most endeavoured in the past few years, has gradually become the only scenario to take Afghanistan out of the crisis. On the one hand, the government and its international supporters insist on inefficient strategies and tactics. On the other hand, the opposite party is pursuing new tactics to achieve its goals by misusing the chances provided in the context of "peace process".
How can we hope for a stable and democratic Afghanistan, when all the developments described as "peace process" are repetitions of the inefficient, violence generating and inhuman trends of the past? Based on the data and information available to us, to talk of peace, security, good governance, social and economic development and political participation, in these days, when the fate of millions of men and women is surrounded in a veil of ambiguity, in our opinion, is but intended to keep busy the active but weak civil society of Afghanistan and offer persuasion to the international community.
It is clear to all that peace without accountability and shedding light on the past, is impossible and can only be called a ceasefire. How can violators of human rights and war crimes suspects be given a share of power under the title of peace? The government and its international supporters are keeping a deaf ear to the frequent demands of representatives of the civil society, in particular women, to take an active and influential role in the peace process.
The Women’s 50% Campaign is renewing its demands to the government and its international supporters to fulfil women’s rights and we warn that a civil war is looming ahead if the present undemocratic, unaccountable and unclear trends continue.
We call on the government of Afghanistan to:
• Investigate human rights violations with determination, to bring their commanders and perpetrators to justice and to offer adequate redress to the victims.
• Abolish, through the parliament, the "Public Amnesty and National Stability Law", because this law is in contravention of the Constitution of Afghanistan and its treaty obligations as well as an obstacle to a just and sustainable peace.
• Guarantee the independence of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. The government must ensure the full participation of the Commission in all processes of peace and reconciliation and immediately publish the Commission’s mapping report on human rights violations in Afghanistan during the conflict.
• Invite the United Nations to investigate and document the crimes under international law, which the Taleban and other armed groups have committed.
• Ensure equal participation of women in all stages of peace talks, in particular in the provincial peace councils and the High Council of Peace, based on UN Security Council’s Resolution 1325 on women and armed conflicts, and appoint women to key positions in the government, the judiciary and decision-making bodies.
• Abolish all the discriminatory laws against women, in particular the Shiite Personal Status Law, the Marriage Law, discriminatory provisions of the Penal Code, Property Law and the customary laws. With the support of the international community, the government must take actions to end the use of customary informal courts and guarantee full and effective access of women to the formal justice system.
• Take effective security measures inside and outside girls’ schools to prevent female students from harm and violence.
• Take practical steps to reduce violence by initiating campaigns, organising educational courses and raising awareness in respect of sexual violence and violence against women.
• Ensure that all the development assistance fully addresses needs defined in consultation with the Afghan civil society, human rights groups and women’s organisations in particular.
Afghanistan Women’s 50% Campaign