Afghanistan/UN: Statement on inclusion of Afghan Women in Peace building, Security and Reconstruction

WLUML Networkers

1. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, (hereinafter referred to as the Committee), mandated to monitor the implementation of the Convention of the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women by 186 States Parties, including Afghanistan, welcomes the efforts of the Government of Afghanistan and its international allies on the new commitment to help secure a peaceful, prosperous and democratic future for Afghanistan initiated in January 28, 2010, London Conference, hosted by the Government of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

2. The Committee wishes to remind the Afghan Government and its international allies of the unique role and contribution of women in the timely resolution of crises and conflicts. The Committee also draws the attention of the Afghan Government and the international community to United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325(2000) and 1820(2008) which underscore women`s active participation in all peace-building efforts and recovery.

3. The Committee accordingly expresses its regret and deep concern about the exclusion of Afghan women from the high decision making level of the Conference and the absence of clear strategies to protect women`s rights in the process of the discussions leading to negotiations with representatives of the Taliban. Any agreement reached with the Taliban should include a clear commitment for the respect and protection of women`s human rights as set out in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and other international human rights treaties to which Afghanistan is party.

4- The Committee emphasizes that Afghan women, who constitute the majority of the Afghan population, must be full and equal participants in decision making, at all levels, in the process of peace building, reconciliation, reconstruction, rebuilding and development of their country. Their voices and views as well as capacities are fundamental and necessary for the sustainable establishment of a prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan, based on the rule of law, democracy, justice, human rights and gender equality. In that regard, the Committee urges the Afghan government and its international allies to ensure that women representatives are included in the upcoming peace and development dialogues and negotiations with the Taliban.

5- The Committee is concerned with the late submission of Afghanistan`s Initial and Second Report under article 18 of the Convention and encourages the State Party to seek technical assistance in the preparation of the Report so as to be able to submit it as soon as possible. The Committee encourages the State Party to consult civil society, particularly women’s organizations, in the preparation of the report.

6. The Committee further urges the State Party to give special attention to a critical review of all discriminatory laws and provisions, based on the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against the Women. In particular, the Committee is concerned about the new personal status law of the Shiite minorities and the discriminatory nature of that law against women. The Committee reminds the government of Afghanistan of its obligations under the Convention, particularly articles 2, 9 and 16 of the Convention, and urges the government to repeal and modify the discriminatory provisions in the personal status and other laws.

45th CEDAW Committee Session
February, 03, 2010, Geneva, Switzerland