We Need Unison to Debate with the Taliban

Having consensus among the government negotiating team members have always been an important issue for a successful peace deal. Speaking to CSHRN, Mir Ahmad Joyanda, a political activist, considers unity and mutual understanding among the members of the negotiating team a step forward to defending democratic values. To reach a common understanding, the team members must have close coordination and cooperation with each other.CSHRN: Given the nature of the Taliban, what do you expect from the peace negotiations?Joyanda: Reaching an agreement between the two parties in the conflict is a challenging task ahead. Unless both parties act in good faith, the peace agreement will remain a dream. The Taliban’s stress on a particular Islamic jurisprudence – the Hanifi Fiq – shows the group's unchangeable nature of the exclusionist approach. Therefore, reaching an agreement will be time-consuming and the government negotiating team must show a high level of unity and cohesion within the team.CSHRN: Will concerns over women issues be addressed during the peace talks?Joyanda: Unfortunately, women’s presence is not sufficient and the Taliban’s team has no single women negotiator. Since women and youth, who have fallen the main victims of conflict in last four decades, they should now make up at least thirty percent of the team. The Taliban have repeatedly claimed to ensure women’s rights in accordance with Sharia law. Nevertheless, the group has remained strictly harsh in interpreting the law. Therefore, the government team must firmly insist on its position to reach an agreement.CSHRN: How will the government team members protect women’s rights?Joyanda: The Afghan team members must remain united to be able to defend women’s rights. They should also justify their position based on solid Islamic principles.CSHRN: Do you see a change in the Taliban's attitude towards women?Joyanda: Overall, I have not yet seen an…

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Sacrificing Values for Peace is not Acceptable

Losing social values after the signing of the peace agreement with the Taliban is one of the primary concerns of citizens. Some civil society activists believe that any peace agreement that undermines values such as the fundamental rights of citizens is not acceptable to the people.In an interview with the Civil Society and Human Rights Network (hereinafter referred to as the "Network"), Mr. Faqiri said that peace in which human values are ignored is worthless. He added that any group that rules in Afghanistan must respect the rights of all citizens, including women’s rights to education and employment. Otherwise, peace makes no difference when there is no justice and freedom. Network: What is your assessment of peace talks?Faqiri: In my view, what is currently happening in Doha should be viewed from both optimistic and pessimistic perspectives. On the one hand, we are witnessing that the political parties want to resolve their problems through dialogue. On the other hand, the extent to which the Taliban may be resilient to the will of the Afghan government, including maintaining a republic system.Network: What do you think the Taliban attacks in different provinces mean during the peace talks?Faqiri: I think the war is a support for the Taliban to negotiate. If they cannot achieve tangible gains on the battlefield, they will not be able to defend their demands at the negotiating table. That is why Taliban attacks intensify whenever there is talk of negotiations. This group uses war as a key tool and element to winning the talks so that the Afghan government can back down from its demands and recognize them as an undisputed group in Afghanistan. In general, the Taliban are trying to appear from a strong position in the negotiations and on the battlefield, which is very important and effective…

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Unjust Peace Triggers Another War

In a democracy, citizens are the main focus of governance. Therefore, realizing their fundamental rights is the main task of a democratic government.In an interview with CSHRN, Sayed Javad Sajjadi Hussaini argued the experience from the first and second World Wars showed that ceasefire and peacebuilding must lead to justice and equality, otherwise, long-lasting peace will not be ensured.CSHRN: How do you assess the progress made so far in peace talks efforts?Hussaini: To assess, both sides’ performance must be evaluated. The Afghan government has, so far, paid a high price for embarking on the peace efforts, such as the release of 5,000 prisoners as goodwill, and yet the Taliban have just spiked their violence and terror across the country. The Taliban have kept insisting on their old-fashioned, self-declared religious beliefs, which do not consist of the realities established in Afghanistan. The group denies all modern and democratic values, including (women) human rights, and certain freedoms. Given all these, it remains little room for optimism to look forward to restoring lasting peaceNetwork: What needs to be done for the success of the peace talks?Hussaini: Considering a ceasefire is the first step. Peace talks cannot be held without a ceasefire and a reduction in violence. Both sides need to sacrifice some of their demands and illustrate flexibility. In the realm of government and politics, the people, their demands, and their rights cannot be ignored. We must achieve peace in the short or long term and go to the polls; That is, the Taliban who claim that the Islamic Emirate is the best government for the people of Afghanistan, and the Republicans who claim that the republic and democracy are the best government, should expose these beliefs to the people. I think the reason we are unable to overcome the problems…

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No Need to Negotiate on Women’s Natural Rights

According to Rubina Shahabi, a local journalist, protecting women’s rights, including education, employment and active participation in society should be the government’s red line in the peace negotiations. She believes that these are obvious and inalienable rights of women and need no discussion.CSHRN: Will women in the negotiating team be able to defend the rights of the wider women community in Afghanistan?Rubina: I personally think that they are capable of protecting our rights in the talks with the Taliban. And yet, I am also concerned about any possible compromise.CSHRN: What is your overall assessment of the peace process?Rubina: It is early to predict the outcome as the two sides have not yet agreed on several issues. One main concern is the uncompromising nature of the Taliban, especially when it comes to women’s rights. There are other fundamental groups as well who share the same mentality with the Taliban, especially in Herat province, and have made several attempts to restrict women’s activities.CSHRN: Will women’s rights activists be able to work in the government in which the Taliban are part of it?Rubina: The Taliban have carried out a bloody war for years to achieve their goals. Therefore, it is hard to think the group will change their views. In doing so, an international mechanism is needed to be put in place to force the group to comply with its obligations.CSHRN: What should the government do if the Taliban restrict women’s rights in the aftermath of the peace agreement?Rubina: The government must stand up for women’s rights, simply because women have not been party to the war, and yet have paid the greatest price for that. The Taliban should also realize today’s realities when women have made progress and dragging the society back to the 1990s is a pipedream.CSHRN: Will women…

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We are Concerned About Freedom of Expression

The absence of a journalist representative in the peace talks has been repeatedly cited by the media as a major concern in which their achievements, mainly in the area of freedom of expression, may be lost. According to Ali Javadi, the dramatic growth of media and female journalists are the key achievements in the area of freedom of the press that must be persevered during the peace talks. CSHRN: Will the peace talks ensure a favorable condition for the work of female journalists? Javadi: People will resist any restriction; however, the working space will shrink for the work of female journalists. This may be partly the result of security deterioration, which will have negative implications on the freedom of female journalists in the country. CSHRN: How do you assess the presence of female journalists in Daikundi province? Javadi: Their presence is very low across the local media in Daikundi. Currently, only three female journalists work there, of which two of them are volunteers. Financial problems, mainly the Covid-19 pandemic has further squeezed the female journalists. Six public and private media outlets are operating in Daikundi, in which a small number of female staff are working. CSHRN: What are other reasons for the lack of female journalists in the province? Javadi: As a newly established province, the negligence from the central government, lack of financial support, and development projects are the three key reasons for female journalists not to flourish in this province. CSHRN: How will peace help women’s lives? Javadi: If peace is ensured, women will not have symbolic but active and meaningful participation in public affairs. They will also be able to share their views openly and publicly. CSHRN: How do you predict the outcome of the peace talks? Javadi: Nothing will change for better unless the…

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Women Activists’ Narratives from Unknown Enemies; Taliban with a Different Identity or Others with Taliban’s Identity?

Ms. Durrani spent her childhood as an immigrant. She returned back to the country with her family as a teenager after the fall of the Taliban. Having completed her schooling in immigration, she was forced to complete her university studies through distance learning, due to security concerns. Maryam Durrani, now a well-known activist in the field of women's rights in Kandahar, like any other citizen, has had fears and experiences of insecurity and violence at every moment of her life in the country. Ms. Durrani, who is in charge of a radio station called "Women" and supports several women's organizations, says that since the beginning of their activities, she and her colleagues have experienced many threats and limitations. "Since our activities are related to women, we have been threatened several times so far. Our radio employees either receive threatening calls or are publicly and directly threatened in the streets and markets. "Sometimes, due to security problems, we are not allowed visit some areas." Ms. Durrani adds that in terms of security issues, what targets women, especially employed one’s is targeted assassinations, but she believes that these assassinations are not always carried out by the Taliban. "Assassinations cannot always be attributed to the Taliban. Some people carry out assassinations because of personal problems or rivalry with a person, but are ascribe to the Taliban.", said Ms. Durrani. According to her, the opposite is not far-fetched either, and the Taliban may easily claim responsibility for the assassination, which is one of the serious problems of women activists in Kandahar because they are unable to recognize their true enemies.  She has survived two suicide bombings while working as a lawyer for the Kandahar Provincial Council. One of the most painful experiences of her career was the assassination of a colleague and…

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Women are the main victims of Afghanistan’s negotiating team weakness

Many experts, especially women’s rights activists believe that Afghanistan’s negotiating team combination, knowledge, and ability to negotiate are among the factors that can influence their success. The weakness of the negotiating team, however, will be detrimental to women more than any other group.In an interview with the CSHRN, Ms. Salimi said that the negotiating team of Afghanistan should not accept any restrictions with regards to women. Women are not willing to accept any restrictions that the Taliban might impose on their rights. She added that the world’s great powers should pressure the Taliban to respect women’s rights.Network: What effect does the presence of women in peace negotiation have?Salimi: In retrospect, because of the patriarchal structure of society, men have never been able to represent women. Therefore, the widespread presence of women in this process can guarantee the protection of women’s rights. Afghan women have the ability to play a direct role in determining their own future. Ms. Salimi added that women should defend their rights enshrined in the constitution and international treaties, and participate in all political processes, including the peace negotiations, which has a direct impact on maintaining their freedom and achievements.Network: What are the important demands of women from peace talks?Salimi: The most important demand for women is that all their political, social, and economic achievements be preserved because they do not want to retreat to the past. Women want to play an active role in all areas of society and be economically self-sufficient so that they can contribute to the needs of the family alongside men.Network: What is your general view about peace talks?Salimi: Although I am not optimistic about the outcome of negotiations with the Taliban who has always carried out killings, and the war will continue if no attempt is made to achieve…

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Bi-weekly Situation Report
No. 12 (July 01, 2021 – July 15, 2021)

Civil Society and Human Rights Network Purpose: This bi-weekly report describes the updates and challenges related to the government’s relief response program, known as Dastarkhan-e-Meli, and health assistance in combating Covid-19 in Afghanistan. Time Coverage: The report covers all the measures undertaken from July 01 to July 15, 2021, by the government in Afghanistan concerning health and humanitarian assistance during the Covid-19 pandemic. Situation Overview: Covid-19 New Update: The third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic put in place tremendous health crises.  The positive cases and death toll are on the rise while health services are limited. The health institutions and hospitals are suffering from poor facilities and mismanagement, undermining the efforts to mitigate the effects of the pandemic across the provinces. The graph below shows the rising Covid-19 positive tests and loses during the first half of June 2021 across Afghanistan. However, due to lack of data and documentation, the actual number is expected to be much higher. Amidst the third wave of the pandemic, people in most provinces are suffering from poor health services. In the meanwhile, the COVID-19 hospitals across the provinces provide insufficient and poor health services. In several provinces, including Balkh, Herat, Kabul, Jawzjan, Ghor, people are suffering from lack of oxygen. Likewise, the price of oxygen increased several times higher than the normal price before. For example, one balloon of 40 Kg oxygen is between 2000 AFNs to 5000 AFN while the same balloon was previously available for 500 AFNs only. Poor individuals tested positive are not able to afford oxygen balloons, putting them at high risk of health crisis. Challenges in implementation of Datarkhan-e-Melli:  In most provinces, the Dastarkhan-e-Meli program has been suspended due to both lack of budget and growing insecurity as most districts have recently fallen under the control of…

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No. 12 (July 01, 2021 – July 15, 2021)

Women’s Only Demand from Peace is not Just an End to War

در گرماگرم گفت‌وگوها در مورد مذاکرات صلح با طالبان و تعیین‌شدن هیاتی متشکل از زنان و مردان برای آن، افزون بر مشکلات امنیتی، موضوعی که همواره به عنوان یکی از نگرانی‌های زنان، از نتیجه‌ی روند صلح، از آن یاد شده، دست‌کم گرفته‌شدن حقوق و دست‌آوردهای آنان است. برخی از فعالان حقوق زن در کندز می‌گویند، اگر در مذاکرات صلح، به حقوق زنان اهمیت داده نشود، این صلح از نگاه آنان کامل نخواهد بود. حبیبه گلستانی، یکی از فعالان حقوق زن در کندز در گفت‌وگویی با شبکه‌ی جامعه‌ی مدنی و حقوق بشر(ازاین به بعد، "شبکه") می‌گوید، افزون بر مشکلات امنیتی، کمبود فرصت‌های شغلی و نبود مصونیت کاری، از جمله  مشکلاتی است که زنان در این ولایت انتظار دارند، با برقرار شدن صلح، برطرف شود«ریاست امور زنان، تنها پست دولتی در کندز است که به یک زن داده شده که آن هم به صورت نمادین است. در سوی دیگر پست معاونت اجتماعی ولایت کندز از چند سال به این سو به دست یک مرد است، در حالی که تعداد قابل توجهی از زنان در کندز شرایط انتخاب شدن برای این پست را دارند، اما به دلیل تهدیدها، جرات کاندید شدن را ندارند.»دراین صورت، به نظر شما حضور زنان در ادارات پر رنگ نیست؟                                                                                                                                گلستانی: وقتی زنان در بخش‌های کلیدی و تصمیم‌گیرنده نباشند و صلاحیتی که به یک مرد داده می‌شود، به آنان داده نشود، آنان فقط برای امرار معاش کار می‌کنند و نمی‌توان آن را حضو پر…

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Toolkit on Countering Hate Speech in Afghanistan

Worldwide, the increasing use of hate speech is posing challenges to inclusive democratic participation as well as access to critical rights, such as freedom from discrimination and violence. Recognizing the need to engage civil society, media and other electoral stakeholders in countering hate speech in Afghanistan, this toolkit serves as a resource guide for how to effectively counter hate speech while protecting the right to freedom of speech and protection. The toolkit contains an introduction to international principles as well as domestic legislation related to countering hate speech; global best practice examples; and practical strategies and steps for countering hate speech in country. Click to download pdf More Interviews: Civil Society Report on Implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities February 20, 2017 Annual Report National Unity Government’s Reconciliation with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar The prospects for peace, justice and human rights in Afghanistan Civil Society and Human Rights Network Afghanistan November 26, 2016 Reports The 8th General Assembly of CSHRN February 18, 2015 Annual Report CSHRN UPR Report 2014 February 17, 2015 Annual Report 1 2 3 4 … 11 Next

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