At Afghan Women’s Symposium, President Ghani Calls Women ‘The Main Victims Of The War Imposed On Us’

President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani spoke at the 4th Afghan Women Symposium, titled “Afghan Women, Messengers of Peace,” at the Presidential Palace on May 15.

 The President said, “Our Constitution is an important document and covenant in which our national unity, national and Islamic identity and the fundamental rights of our people are enshrined. Doubtlessly, a real peace can be pursued and maintained when Afghan men and women enjoy their fundamental rights without their rights being encroached.”

“Fortunately, we are following the religion where humans are not divided based on gender, but men and women are equal and endowed with equal prestige and status according to human dignity,” he added. “We study in our Islamic history that Muslim women were actively engaged in political, cultural, economic and social spheres by virtue of the rights given to them in Islam.”

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“If there had not been war and violence, thousands of our girls would be doctors, engineers, nurses, teachers and social actors, unlike their present conditions marked by deprivation, sorrow and worries.” –President Ashraf Ghani

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The President continued: “The important reason behind the success and progress which the Afghan women have made during the past 15 years is the opportunity provided to them by the Constitution. Prolongation of war and insecurity is the significant reason behind gender-based inequality. The number of uneducated Afghan women to whom educational opportunities are denied is three times the number of uneducated Afghan men and the chief reason is the war imposed on us in which we are engaged.”

The President said, “If there had not been war and violence, thousands of our girls would be doctors, engineers, nurses, teachers and social actors, unlike their present conditions marked by deprivation, sorrow and worries. Women are the major victims of the ongoing war. They are not the ones responsible for the war, but they are the martyrs, wounded and refugees in this war.”

He added, “Discussions and measures of women centered on peace seem very natural and indispensable, for women are intrinsically and naturally champions and advocates of peace. The organization of this symposium  … truly demonstrates our call for observance of Islamic instructions and nurturing national traditions.”

He said, “My suggestion is this: that Afghan women and organizers of this symposium should put forward their specific recommendations on peace to the Afghan Government and people. Now they — ‘Afghan women’ — have a clear stand and voice of their own. Their capacity is well-built and their experience is glorious. They excel in their discussions.”

The President added that it is not only the scourge of the imposed war to which Afghan women are opposed but also their position in other social evils like addiction is very praiseworthy. He thanked the organizers of the symposium and said, “The significance of this consensus lies in the fact that peace and tranquility is the key demand of the people and an essential need of Afghanistan.”

 Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs Salahuddin Rabbani said the annual symposium “is a good opportunity where different topics can be discussed such as how women can play a role in putting an end to the ongoing war and the violence resulting from it and how they can be engaged in establishing enduring peace in the country.”

He added, “Women’s engagement in economic, political, cultural and social development of the developed countries is robust and perceptible, but unfortunately in the past four decades Afghan women have been segregated compared to men. Afghan women have been unprecedentedly deprived and they are the real victims of the social miseries, hence we are particularly focused on ensuring peace and enduring security.”

 “The Afghan Government has taken significant measures in order to bring women back into the mainstream of social decision-making process such as women’s economic empowerment, efforts to eliminate violence, strengthening women’s engagement in political affairs and provision of educational opportunities to girls,” Foreign Minister Rabbani said.

Afghan Minister of Women’s Affairs Dilbar Nazari said, “Peace counts as the basic human needs in the absence of which sustainable development can’t be attained.”

She added that the Ministry of Women Affairs “is in the last stages of formulating policy of maintaining peace which will facilitate wider participation of women in the peace process. The most important demand of the Afghan women is to establish peace and security in the country.”

This is an edited repost from the Office of the President’s website. Read the full version here.