Afghan Civil Society Fears Taliban Talks Will Compromise Rights
Una Moore, UN Dispatch - February 1, 2010
At an international conference in London last week, seventy countries pledged to back Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s plan to negotiate and reconcile with some Taliban. Despite reassurances from Karzai and western allies that reconciliation will not betray hard-won gains in social and political freedom, much of the rhetoric from power players at the summit gave civil society observers the impression human rights –and especially the rights of Afghanistan’s women– will be on the negotiating table.
Activists also expressed anger at the exclusion of women and civil society from preparations for the conference itself.
“Unfortunately Afghan civil society and women leaders were totally ignored in preparing the agenda of this conference and deciding what should be discussed,” said Orzala Nemat, a leading civil society activist and Taliban era dissident.
The Afghan government sent an all-male delegation to the conference, but Afghan women made their voices heard anyway. Dozens attended related non-governmental events. In these forums, the women outlined their vision for the future.
“We want peace and security with justice and involvement of women,” said Mary Akrami, the founder of an organization that assists poor women and girls, at a panel event on women’s security priorities hosted by the British parliament.
Akrami made her plea just hours after the United Nations announced the removal of five former Taliban officials from its terrorist list, paving the way for the five men to take part in UN-sponsored negotiations on behalf of at least one Taliban faction of Afghanistan’s multi-group insurgency.
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In the Wake of Intensifying Peace-Building Efforts, Afghan Women Voice their Concerns - Women's Campaign International