Some experts believe that women, as half the population of the country, have the right to participate in the peace process and advocate for their rights to be asserted in the peace agreement.
In an interview with the CSHRN, Mr. Ramizpoor said that women should advocate for their rights to be included in the peace agreement through their representatives in the peace talks and through national support. They can maintain their claims in the post-peace era.
CSHRN: How will the peace agreement affect the socio-political presence of women?
Ramizpoor: Over the last two decades women’s status has advanced dramatically, especially their participations in various spheres of the society. Realistically, the Taliban may not impose restrictions on their socio-political presence. Similarly, the Taliban are also part of the reality of the Afghan society that cannot be eliminated through war. Therefore, both the side need to put an end to the ongoing conflict through a healthy dialogue.
CSHRN: How can women presence in the peace negotiations affect the Taliban’s view of women?
Ramizpoor: The Taliban have accepted the presence of women in formal and informal peace talks for several years. Women have participated in many informal talks, such as in Moscow and Doha. Currently, four well-educated women are representing women in the ongoing Doha talks. However, it should be noted that the mere presence of women in the dialogue is not enough, but their continued advocacy for strengthening their position in the peace agreement is important. Moreover, women’s rights are protected by the religion, Islam, and the Taliban cannot ignore it. Women’s rights such as education, employment, fair trial, consensual marriage, and political activities are all provided in Islam.
CSHRN: Do women in the negotiating team have the capacity to defend their rights?
Ramizpoor: Women in the negotiating team have a long history of civic, political, and social activities and are well aware of women’s situation in the country. Therefore, they can defend women’s rights in the peace talks.
CSHRN: What important issues should be discussed with regards to women in the peace talks?
Ramizpoor: Women should enjoy equal rights as men. They should have the right to education, employment, justice, freedom of movement, and the right to participate in socio-political activities.
CSHRN: What are some other challenges that women face?
Ramizpoor: Low level of literacy, prejudice against women’s freedom, and opposition to women’s rights to education and work.
CSHRN: What restrictions should be accepted by the government with regards to women’s rights?
Ramizpoor: Naturally the government will defend the existing achievements and women’s rights. However, to reach an agreement, restriction might be imposed. The restrictions should not violate internationally accepted documents.
CSHRN: Do women have the capacity to create independent movements?
Ramizpoor: Women’s movements have reached to an evolutionary and critical stage in Afghanistan. Additionally, dozens of civil society organizations are advocating for women’s rights nationally and internationally which is commendable. I believe that these movements can be effective and should remain free of government’s influence.
CSHRN: How can the Taliban presence affect civil societies activities?
Ramizpoor: Civil society is an important part of a dynamic society based on democratic values. If the Taliban want to be recognized as a credible partner in the international community, they will have to accept and support civil society in post-conflict Afghanistan.
CSHRN: What is your assessment of the peace talks?
Ramizpoor: Experience shows that the process of peace talks in armed conflict requires the real will of all parties involved, sincere cooperation and the necessary support of international and national partners. Formal negotiations between the Taliban and the team and the government team began in Doha on September 12, 2020, and now the challenge of reaching an agreement on drafting the principles of the negotiation process is due to the necessary inflexibility and acceptance of alternatives offered by both sides. Deadlocks in peace talks are common issues and people need to be mentally prepared for it. The forty-year war with regional and international actors involved will not lead to a final solution in the short term. There exists national, international and to some extent regional consensus to ending the conflict in Afghanistan which is promising.
Network: Will the Taliban abide by their commitments after the peace talks?
Ramizpoor: Faithfulness to the covenant is one of the highest values of the holy religion of Islam. This value can keep the Taliban loyal to their commitments. On the other hand, maintaining the foundations of democracy such as parliament, freedom of expression, the participation of all people in the reconstruction of society, civil institutions and independent structures such as the National Human Rights Institute and the media in peace agreements will largely ensure the preservation of values. Afghanistan’s international partners will continue their cooperation with the government and the post-peace system only if the rights of women and other components of a democratic society are preserved. This has been repeatedly reported to the Taliban by Afghanistan’s international partners.
Mr. Ramizpoor added that lasting peace is achieved through negotiations and that the positive outcome of the talks depends on justice, cohesion, coordination, and people’s support, especially civil society, political activists and Afghan elites.