“To end the current bloodshed and establish nation-wide peace and unity, we call on the Government, armed opposition groups and the international community to participate in peace talks and urge the conflicting parties to declare a ceasefire and to reach peace,” said a pamphlet distributed by the organizers of the campaign.
A gender advisor to the High Peace Council (HPC), Moazimma Naeemzoi, said that the objective of the campaign – launched by this body’s Women’s Committee – is to give the women of Afghanistan “a common voice for peace.”
“This in fact signifies the support of men and women to the peace process,” said Ms. Naeemzoi.
Launched on 15 January, the campaign, ‘Afghan Women’s Call for Peace and a Ceasefire,’ will continue until 19 February, according to the HPC.
The organizers plan to submit copies of the signatures to the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon; the President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai; and the Taliban.
Besides supporting the organization of future elections, at the core of the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is the support, at the request of the Afghan authorities, to peace and reconciliation efforts as the country continues its political and security transition.
The UN mission’s support in the area of reconciliation includes providing outreach and good offices to support the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process as well as proposing and supporting confidence-building measures within the framework of the Afghan Constitution.
Addressing a gathering of the members of the HPC in May last year, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, Nicholas Haysom, had highlighted the importance of making any peace process inclusive, and the audience to “create space in negotiations to engage people. Both sides should have [their] ownership in a peace process. In Afghanistan, there is a real need for a truly inclusive peace.”
While noting that women in Islamic and Afghan societies have “special historical and cultural positions,” the HPC campaign organizers said, “...we believe that the parties in conflict will respect our plea and honour our proposition that is based on Afghan and Islamic principles by responding positively and thus ending this violence.”
The members of HPC Committee believe that women have born maximum physical and financial losses from the conflict in the country; therefore this initiative has been launched to spread the message against war and support peace.
The campaign will cover all 34 provinces of the country through the HPC’s provincial offices, which have already started collecting signatures.
“The provincial offices of HPC have secured the cooperation of religious scholars for the success of the campaign,” said Ms. Naeemzoi.
“We are ready to play our role in bridging the gaps between the conflicting parties; we want to hear from them and share our views with them. We hope that all opposing parties will respond positively to our call for peace and ceasefire and help us reach this noble goal or bringing peace and security to our people.”