The Embassies of the Commonwealth of Australia, Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the Delegation of the European Union, welcome the formation of the High Council for National Reconciliation and hope that this will quickly be followed by the announcement of the date for the commencement of the intra-Afghan Negotiations. These are critical steps toward an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace.
It is now urgent that both the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban insist on the meaningful participation of women in these negotiations. History shows peace agreements are more durable and successful when women are fully integrated and engaged.
The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban must actively include women in all dimensions of the peace process; leadership councils, negotiating teams, consultative shuras, technical and advisory teams. We urge both sides to redouble efforts to appoint a greater number of qualified women to these bodies.
We also emphasise the importance of men as crucial advocates for gender equality and urge them to actively promote the involvement of women in the process and thoughtfully consider issues that distinctly affect women.
The fundamental rights of Afghan women enshrined in the Afghan constitution must be preserved and strengthened as part of the peace process. These include women’s rights to work, education, freedom of movement and association, and access to health care.
No country can succeed while ignoring half its population. The chance for a peaceful and prosperous future Afghanistan relies on recognising the power and harnessing the unrealised potential of Afghan women.