On September 21, 2020, WAW celebrated this year’s International Day of Peace in 10 provinces across Afghanistan. Several forums were organized and convened in Badakhshan, Takhar, Kunduz, Balkh, Faryab, Kapisa, Saripul, Kunar, Nangarhar, and Kabul, to promote our flourishing Women and Peacebuilding program to the public and to diverse, wider audiences.
More than 500 individuals, the vast majority of whom were women, attended these forums including a diverse and strategic representation of various stakeholders from government ministries, provincial councils, partner civil society organizations, local and international NGOs, and ulamas (Islamic scholars). Many human rights defenders, elders, youths, and community leaders also actively participated in the events.
All the participants enthusiastically joined and contributed to this year’s celebration of the International Day of Peace under the broad consensus that peace is the current and ultimate priority for Afghanistan. The various stakeholders and participants reiterated their demand that women, minorities, and civil society organizations must be meaningfully represented and involved in peace talks to ensure the rights of all Afghans–particularly, women and girls, and minorities–are safeguarded and respected.
Participants were introduced to the wide range of achievements that have become part of WAW’s Women and Peacebuilding program and the positive impact this program is having in the provinces in which it is being implemented. However, everyone is in agreement that more needs to be done to guarantee that a just, enduring, and sustainable peace finally will prevail in Afghanistan. Participants asked WAW to continue and expand its peacebuilding activities and efforts, particularly in collaboration with the international community and the Afghan government.
The various forums concluded with a call on the Afghan government and international partners to secure a viable, permanent ceasefire and to be transparent with the Afghan people on the status, details, and progress of the negotiations with the Taliban. Everyone stressed that, although peace is the foremost concern of the Afghan people, the gains made over the past two decades are non-negotiable, especially regarding women’s rights, minority rights, freedom of the press, among other rights and freedoms.
WAW’s International Day of Peace forums also concluded with a prayerful hope that the long-standing, painful conflict in Afghanistan will soon come to an end, and with gratitude and appreciation for the international community’s support for peace and for the people of Afghanistan, and particularly the United States leadership in this regard.
Indeed, Afghan women, civil society, and minority communities will never accept going back to the dark days and brutality they suffered under the pre-2001 reign of the Taliban.
#AfghanWomenStrong will never go back!