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

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    Carry-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society, so here's the deal with pizza, Chinese food and what racism has to do with taking food to go

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora