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 peace
Network: 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 is that we have lost the standard and forgotten the people; so, we have to go to the people.
Network: Given the Taliban’s view of women, to what extent do you think women’s participation in various fields is acceptable to the Taliban after the peace agreement?
Taliban may not accept women’s presence in society, which is in contrast to the reality of Afghan society. It also means the alienation of the principle of governance, science, and historical experience. He believes that we should look for a just peace and not what the Taliban want, the establishment of an Islamic Emirate.
Network: What will be the situation of women after the peace agreement? Do you think that the Taliban era might be repeated?
Hussaini: I do not think that the Taliban era might be repeated. We have two decades of experience defending democracy and human rights. Despite our shortcomings, we have made many positive changes. Therefore, returning to the past is almost an impossibility. Although some short-term restrictions may be imposed with the integration of the Taliban with the government, the past will not be repeated in practice, and women’s significant achievements in various fields will not be ignored.
Network: What do you mean by restrictions?
Hussaini: For instance, there is currently no legal impediment to female judges or policewomen and their civic activities, but if the Taliban participate in the government, there may be restrictions on the presence of women in the security and judiciary sectors, which seems to be temporary.
Network: What do you think about the gender composition of the negotiating team?
Hussaini: The goal is to defend women’s rights. It is possible for a man, who is aware of human rights, their abilities, and the oppression that has been inflicted on them, to defend women’s rights better than a woman. Therefore, the composition of the team in terms of ideas is more important than gender. Unfortunately, most of the team members have no sufficient knowledge of human rights.
Network: Do you think that the Afghan negotiating team members are fragile in terms of quality?
Afghan negotiating team members are very fragile in terms of quality. Unfortunately, in the composition of the team, the presence of certain individuals has been considered based on their political affiliations. Some of the members are intellectually incapable of representing the government. “When it comes to the faith of the people, capable individuals should represent them,” said Mr. Hussaini.
According to this researcher, one of the problems among some citizens, including the general public, elites, political activists, and politicians, is their indifference, and such an approach will not lead to effective efforts to achieve peace.