News / Asia

Afghan Women Campaign for Peace

FILE - Member of the Afghan parliament Golalei Nur Safi.
FILE - Member of the Afghan parliament Golalei Nur Safi.
Ayaz Gul
War-weary women in Afghanistan have unleashed an unprecedented campaign to seek an immediate cessation of hostilities and defend the freedom they have gained over the past decade in the mostly conservative and male-dominated Afghan society. The move comes amid intensifying fears the Islamist Taliban would try to regain power after NATO combat troops withdraw from the country in December.
 
Afghanistan’s nearly four-year-long peace effort, made through a High Peace Council of prominent Afghan personalities, has so far failed to persuade the Taliban to end its insurgency and join a political reconciliation process.
 
The lack of progress has prompted the women's wing of the panel to undertake a rare peace initiative of its own, providing a glimmer of hope for traditionally and socially oppressed Afghan women. 
 
A Council member, parliamentarian Golalei Nur Safi, is at the forefront of the campaign, called ‘Voice of Afghan Women for Peace and Cease-fire’. She told VOA their mission is to urge the government and Taliban-led opposition groups, as well as international forces, to try to negotiate a peaceful settlement of the conflict as soon as possible.
 
Safi said the campaign was launched early this month and Afghan women are joining it in large numbers every day. She added that despite security concerns, women volunteers are making serious efforts to secure as many signatures as possible from female members of Afghan society on a piece of paper carrying a message of peace.
 
“We go door-to-door also and also [arrange] some meetings between the women.  And the group of volunteers they go to the people, to the society, to the schools, to the universities, to the workplaces, and they tell [them] about the message that we want peace and [a] cease-fire. We have hundreds of women, they are working like volunteers to take the signature from the women and until now we have more than 120,000 signatures,” said Safi.

Organizers say copies of the signatures will be submitted to President Hamid Karzai, United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon and representatives of the Taliban.
 
Safi said they have also taken their demands to candidates taking part in the upcoming Afghan presidential elections.  
 
“We talk to every candidate about this campaign and we tell our message to them that Afghan women they are very tired from the war and we want peace,” said Safi.
 
She said that after more than a decade of political empowerment at different levels, Afghan women are determined not allow anyone violate their rights, be it the government or the Taliban. The lawmaker reiterated that women must be made part of political decision-making process to ensure their rights are protected in the search for a peaceful way out of the crisis facing Afghanistan.
 
“We expect that the rights of women are not violated once again that we have achieved and accomplished in the last ten years in Afghanistan. And we believe that the rights of women will not be jeopardized once again as it was a decade ago and these rights shall be respected and should be promoted despite starting or convening the peace negotiations with the Taliban,” she said.
 
The Afghan civil war of the 1990s that paved the way for the Taliban to seize power and impose their brand of strict Islamic law critically undermined female rights in the war-shattered country. The Taliban banned women from workplaces and prohibited girls’ education during their five year rule.
 
It is estimated that until the U.S.-led military coalition ousted the Taliban from power in 2001, there were fewer than one million Afghan children in school, and all of them were boys. Recent local and foreign studies show that international assistance has since helped the country raise the number of students close to eight million; more than a third of that 8 million are girls. Meanwhile, improvements to health facilities has brought down the maternal mortality rate by 80 percent and Afghan women are now running their own businesses.

You May Like

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid