Sacrificing Women's Rights to Secure Peace?
Is the Afghan government seriously considering selling out the rights of half of its population in order to get a deal with the Taliban? The signs are ominous. Excerpted from a great essay by Wazhma Frogh in the Guardian:
The idea of subsuming women's rights so that the war can end has come in formal and informal talks between some parliamentarians, government officials and is also reported to be part of cynical discussions among some of the international diplomats in Kabul gatherings.
Many women activists believe the growing Talibanisation of the Afghan government will not only bring further instability, as it could upset the diverse ethnic composition of Afghanistan, but also predict that they will pay for this political settlement with their rights.
Despite receiving promises from the members of the international community and the Afghan government about the so-called "red lines" of talks with the Taliban, women activists are concerned that recent developments are step-by-step moves towards the loss of women's rights.
The Afghan peace jirga earlier this month legitimised criminal aspects of the insurgency by referring to offenders merely as political "angry brothers". It ensured that impunity will continue – for example, through the formation of a commission to review the cases of militant prisoners.
In the past two weeks, according to Afghan national television, around 15 ex-combatants have been released from two prisons in Parwan and Kabul. The longest trial that took place was four hours.
Women activists fear that the judiciary is not equipped to distinguish between the guilty and the innocent. As a result, notorious war criminals and human rights violators will be released under this political settlement, including the men that threw acid in the faces of girls in Kandahar, those who assassinated the senior police officer, Malalai Kakar, and those militants who continue to target girls' schools.