After Bonn: Afghan Women's Network Declaration And Recap Of The Conference
After the International Conference on Afghanistan in Bonn on Monday, Afghan women’s rights activists are focusing on the future. Here is a quick overview of how the conference went and reactions to the conference outcomes:
At a press conference on Monday, the Afghan Women's Network issued a Declaration, outlining their recommendations on Bonn and beyond. The document reaffirms their commitment to building a more secure and equitable Afghanistan where women have a strong role in peace building and nation building. The declaration is based on consultations with 500 women leaders representing 500,000 women from more than 20 provinces in Afghanistan. The recommendations from the document focus on an inclusive peace process, continued support for women’s empowerment, and prioritisation of women’s security as a key indicator in transition.
Members of the AWN met with foreign ministers, media and delegates to discuss these issues during the civil society conference and from the sidelines of the official Bonn conference. Selay Ghaffar, executive director of Humanitarian Assistance for Women and Children of Afghanistan (HAWCA), was one of only two civil society representatives selected to speak at the official conference and tasked with highlighting the needs and issues affecting the women of Afghanistan.
Thanks to the efforts of Ghaffar, the AWN, members of civil society and supportive government delegates (Canada, India and European representatives were the strongest supporters of women's rights), the outcome document from the conference states that the rights of women must be respected in the peace and reconciliation process. While the document stipulates that any agreement on the future of Afghanistan must respect the constitution including women’s rights, it was less clear on women’s inclusion in the peace process or what practical steps will be taken to ensure action and implementation. The document merely mentioned that the peace process would be inclusive ‘regardless of gender’.
UK delegates voiced some commitment to the rights of women with Lynne Featherstone MP attending the civil society conference and William Hague tweeting that “Women must be part of Afghan political process: message from Afghan women delegates, reflected in #Bonn conclusions.”
With more negotiations set to take place and a strategic pact between Afghanistan and Britain due to be signed soon, there are plenty of opportunities for women’s rights to be firmly incorporated and women’s participation guaranteed in the transition process.
- AWN Declaration
- UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has released the following statement on the conference: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=News&id=701589882
- The outcome document for the conference is now available (4 mentions of women) here.
- Statement from Foreign Secretary William Hague on Bonn blueprint for long-term engagement with Afghanistan:http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=News&id=701858582
- WIlliam Hague's speech from the conference can be found here.
Check out our page on Twitter@Nowomennopeace to review our coverage of the civil society conference and the official conference. Follow the hash tags #Bonn2 and #Afghanwomen.