Afghan women’s voice at peace table essential: Yamamoto

KABUL: UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Tadamichi Yamamoto, said yesterday that time has come to close the gender gap in Afghanistan.

In a written piece, Tadamichi Yamamoto said that gender equality offered solutions to some of the most intractable problems in Afghanistan, adding that in all over Afghanistan, women were worse off than men – simply because they are women.

“We have seen significant progress on women’s rights in Afghanistan, including formal legislation and national action plans, we continue to see powerful social and political pushback, both directly and indirectly. This situation must change for Afghan women, and for the benefit of Afghanistan as a nation,” he added.

However, he said that women and girls in Afghanistan still contended with centuries of misogyny and the erasure of their achievements, prevented from going to school, relegated to performing menial work, ridiculed, judged on their looks, and confronted by everyday sexism, harassment, and victim-blaming.

“These are barriers to solving many of the challenges and threats that Afghanistan faces as a nation,” he added.

Yamamoto also noted that the lack of gender balance in universities and commerce in Afghanistan requires concerted and coordinated bridging solutions that are shaping Afghanistan’s future. “Afghanistan has an opportunity to rectify the lack of women’s full representation in political decision-making. What is especially crucial in the period ahead is to focus on Afghan women’s representation and their effective participation in peace negotiations,” the statement underscored.

Following the recent US-Taliban agreement for bringing peace to Afghanistan, Yamamoto underlined that women should not be marginalized “not only of women’s equal representation in any formal intra-Afghan peace process but also in upholding, protecting and advancing Afghan women’s human rights.”

“It is abundantly clear that Afghan women must be an integral part of any formal peace negotiations. As has been proven time and time again in other contexts around the globe, women’s full and meaningful participation in peace negotiations greatly increases the sustainability of peace accords,” he added.

Yamamoto spoke out the UN’s role saying that the United Nations continues to provide expert advice and technical support to Afghan women to participate effectively in peace talks. “Women’s voices at the peace table are essential,” he added.

“The time has come to close the gender gap in Afghanistan, not just in any coming peace negotiations, but in post-peace arrangements, with real voice and agency, and in all aspects of Afghanistan’s social, economic, civic and political life,” he concluded as saying.

The Kabul Times

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