Women Members of the High Peace Council Present to UNDP a 250,000-Signature Petition Calling for Peace
The women’s committee of the High Peace Council (HPC), an Afghan body involved in the country’s peace efforts, has submitted today a petition – containing the signatures of more than 250,000 Afghan women and girls calling for peace – to the Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Afghanistan for onward transmission to the UNDP Administrator Helen Clark.
In accepting the petition in Kabul, the UNDP Country Director, Mr. Alvaro Rodriguez, said: “We at UNDP encourage the participation of Afghan women at all levels of decision making and in support of peace efforts.”
He also said that in the new Country Programme, that UNDP is preparing for 2015-2019, there will be a focus on supporting initiatives that promote the full inclusion of women in all spheres of life in Afghanistan, including equal rights and opportunities so that women can fully contribute to the country’s development.
One of the HPC members, Ms. Sediqa Balkhi, who is also a member of parliament, reflected on the impact of conflict on the lives of Afghan women and girls and called on all parties to respect the rights of women and not to compromise the gains achieved to date.
According to the organizers, the signature campaign, which started this year in January, covered most of the country’s 34 provinces.
The women committee members have already presented their petition to the Afghan President Hamid Karzai, armed opposition groups including the Taliban and to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.
UNDP supports the Government of Afghanistan to help women to take-up leadership roles and see that women are supported and trained to take part in decision-making processes at the community level, and in sub-national and national governance roles. UNDP also works with civil society to extend justice and legal aid to more women