Lailuma Nasiri

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2018 UN OPEN DAY      
I would like to thank the UNAMA and UN Women for hosting the 2018 OPEN DAY on Women, Peace and Security under the theme “Women’s Participation in Peace Processes”, a timely and very crucial theme to think and talk about.
While peace is essential and a must for all Afghans, women are more than anyone else and any other time in the past, demanding not only peace but a fair and clear place in peace talks and peace processes. We all know and we all realize the fact that to build a sustainable peace in any society, inclusion of women at every level of society is a required element. 
What we lack is the act upon what we know and what we realize. I better say, everything is equal and fair in theory but not in practice.
While women are naturally peaceful beings, their role in family and community is an obvious example of their abilities in building peace. Building sustainable peace through women’s participation in peace process is lacking due to internal and external factors and reasons.
The internal factors I think are our social and cultural norms that mostly facilitate exclusion of women in any decision making process including peace talks, peace processes and peace deals. We totally agree that change in social and cultural norms, in favor of women will take time and will not happen overnight.  
Although the social and cultural norms can influence and do influence the external factors, I still think what can change are the external factors. Lack of will, lack of priority and lack of trust in women’s abilities through participation in peace process by both the Afghan Government and the international community and actors are causes that form external factors.
While women are rarely or symbolically involved in regional or national level peace delegations and negotiations, the international community and actors, although regularly stress over the importance of women’s inclusion in the peace process, accept any peace efforts without women’s inclusion, the recent efforts are a clear example of the reality.  
I believe if we don’t invest in women, women’s participation in every sphere of social, political and economic life will be equal to none and we won’t have women’s voice and action.
My specific recommendations are:

  1. Include women leaders in regional and national level peace talks with the Taliban. Ensure women are included in the afghan delegations to major international events. Support their voices as leaders and advocates in peace building rather than as victims.
  2. Advance women’s economic opportunity and empowerment as one way to build a more inclusive afghan society.
  3. Recognize that changes in social and cultural norms are important and necessary for women’s inclusion in public life, and that these changes can occur over time with international efforts to improve status of Afghan women in the society. Continued international support will ensure sustainable peace in Afghanistan.
  4. Whether women are part of formal peace talks or not, we the women of Afghanistan ask all national and international actors to not let our rights and achievements are neglected or sacrificed.

Thank You,

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