​#AfghanWomenDontGoBack: The Afghan Peace Deal Excludes Women and Disregards their Rights

Gender Concerns International together with women’s organizations and civil society organizations all over Afghanistan have expressed their discontent with the Peace Agreement signed by the United States and the Taliban forces on the 29th of February 2020, and are calling for "an Afghan-owned, Afghan-led and Afghan-maintained" peace process. The agreement has been criticized for neglecting to uphold the human rights of its citizens and to respect the constitutional values of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan which guarantees the equality of women. This is particularly important because women and other minorities continue to be marginalized and excluded from the negotiating table, despite considerable efforts to be politically represented and have their voices heard in male-dominated meetings and agreements. Completely disregarding the successful efforts made by Afghan women to achieve their freedom undermines the sustainability of the peace agreement itself, as half of the country’s population is female.

The Afghan Women’s Network has held a press conference sharing its concerns with this deal and suggesting solutions to reach a more inclusive peace process, using the hashtag #AfghanWomenDontGoBack. These suggestions include reducing violence against women, preserving all constitutional rights, demanding for elected representatives to take the lead in both intra-Afghan and external negotiations, and addressing these rights in an explicit manner. International organizations should put more pressure on the U.S. government to negotiate with the elected government of Afghanistan and safeguard human and civil rights.