Briefing by Hillary Clinton on Group of Friends of Women in Afghanistan – A critical moment for Afghan women: The intra-Afghan peace process.
Former Secretary of State of the United States Hillary Clinton today (10 Mar) said Afghan women “are rightly afraid” that gains made in recent years, “will be washed away in a rush to achieve a peace that will not hold anyway.”
Clinton, addressing a meeting of the Group of Friends of Afghanistan at UN Headquarters, said “this is not just morally wrong, this is dangerous.”
She said, “our goal has long been to ensure that the Taliban would cease hostilities and violence, agree to abide by the Afghan constitution and the laws that have been enacted by the parliament of Afghanistan. The Taliban must prove that they understand and respect the significant changes that have occurred in Afghan society and demonstrate that they are willing to abide by the constitution and give up violence and go forward in a peaceful political process.”
Clinton told the meeting that “the women of Afghanistan have made profound contributions to their country and reconstruction and development. They’ve used their voices and influence to support a moderate Afghanistan, to serve as a bulwark against the return to extremism.”
She said, “they’ve come too far; they’ve worked too hard; they’ve sacrificed too much to be excluded from the negotiating table while their rights are stripped away.”
Clinton delivered the keynote address at today’s meeting, held barely two weeks after the signing of a peace deal between Washington and the Taliban.
The agreement calls for the insurgent group to participate in intra-Afghan peace talks which were to begin that day. It also covers a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops.
For her part, Afghan Ambassador Adela Raz told the meeting that Afghan women “will never compromise our rights that have been protected and granted by the Afghan constitution.”
Raz said, “in this pivotal moment of my country and for women in Afghanistan, we need our allies, international partners, and supporters to elevate the strides of my fellow Afghan sisters for not only having a seat at the negotiating table, but for a comprehensive peace agreement that protects the constitutional rights of every Afghan woman, because women’s rights are human rights.”
The Group of Friends of Women in Afghanistan was established last November to highlight the central role women have in the country’s future.
Co-chaired by Afghanistan and the United Kingdom, it is comprised of women representatives to the UN and senior officials from the global organization.
In light of the recent peace agreement signed by the United States and the Taliban that sets the stage for Intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations with the Taliban, the Group of Friends of Women in Afghanistan and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security will host a high-level event to consider ways to ensure and enable women’s central role in peace negotiations and the implementation of the final agreement. This event will build on events held during UNGA74 and the launch of the Group of Friends in November 2019, by discussing these and related questions:
Why are women critical to achieving a sustainable peace?
What are the key priorities for women in the peace process?
How can women play a determining role in the successful implementation of any peace agreement?
How can local peacebuilding initiatives be integrated with the national process?
What is the role of civil society, government, international partners in ensuring that women are effectively represented in the negotiating table?