UN / AFGHANISTAN WOMEN

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08-Mar-2018 00:03:29
Marking International Women’s Day, the UN Security Council held a meeting today on the political and peace processes in Afghanistan and the participation of women. UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / AFGHANISTAN WOMEN
TRT: 03:29
SOURCE: UNIFEED
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 08 MARCH 2018, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UNHQ exterior

08 MARCH 2018, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Security Council
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Mariam Safi, Director, Organization for Policy Research and Development Studies:
“Seventeen years ago, hope replaced despair, and Afghans embarked on the path towards a peaceful and stable future where conflict would become a distant memory. We welcomed the international investment and commitment to support this hope. But as I speak here before you, I must tell you that this hope is fading.”
4. Wide shot, Security Council
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Mariam Safi, Director, Organization for Policy Research and Development Studies:
“For women, it is imperative for the state to define the type of peace that would ensue
from negotiations. Our findings show that women believe that the future of their rights are
intricately tied to the outcomes of the peace process. Habiba from Kunduz province told us, ‘The
achievements of the last 17 years in women's empowerment, freedom of speech, human rights
and civil values, should not be open for negotiation.’”
6. Wide shot, Security Council
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Habiba Sarabi, Deputy Chairperson, Afghanistan’s High Peace Council:
“Life of Afghan women have changed remarkably in the last 17 years. There are two indicators that have changed the women's life in Afghanistan over the past 17 years. One of the factors is the tireless efforts and persistent struggles of Afghan women themselves, and another one is the Afghanistan's constitution in which exceptional articles in the favour of the women are placed that have enabled women to get engaged in political and social issues in the country.”
8. Med shot, Sarabi and Yamamoto
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Tadarnichi Yamamoto, Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, United Nations:
“The offer of negotiations is on the table. It is now incumbent upon the Taliban to come forward with an offer of their own, and start direct talks with the Government to put an end to the suffering of the Afghan people. The Taliban’s argument that they will not talk to the Afghan Government because the conflict is not between Afghan parties misrepresents the reality that tens of thousands of Afghan people are killed and maimed every year in direct confrontations between the Taliban and the government forces.”
10. Med shot, Safi and Afghan ambassador
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Mahmoud Saikal, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations:
“Our peace process aims to protect and expand not diminish, the rights of our people, especially
women. The time is now for the Taliban to respond affirmatively and seize the historic
opportunity before them.”
12. Wide shot, Security Council
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, The Netherlands:
“Brave women show us that with perseverance and will almost anything is possible. As for many Afghan women their own situation remains too dire to overcome to overcome alone, facing violence, exclusion and discrimination. They will continue to need our support and helping hand where they seek this assistance.”
14. Pan left, Security Council voting

STORYLINE:

Marking International Women’s Day, the UN Security Council held a meeting today on the political and peace processes in Afghanistan and the participation of women.

Speaking at the meeting, Mariam Safi, Director of Organization for Policy Research and Development Studies, said 17 years ago, “hope replaced despair, and Afghans embarked on the path towards a peaceful and stable future where conflict would become a distant memory” but warned that this hope was “fading.”

Safi said the Taliban continue to show no regard for civilian lives. She asked what the proposed peace negotiation with the group would mean for the country adding that for women it was “imperative for the state to define the type of peace that would ensue from negotiations.” Safi said her organization’s findings showed that Afghan women believe the future of their rights are “intricately tied to the outcomes of the peace process.” Quoting a woman from Kunduz province, she said, “the achievements of the last 17 years in women's empowerment, freedom of speech, human rights and civil values, should not be open for negotiation.”

Habiba Sarabi, Deputy Chairperson of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, said the life Afghan women has changed “remarkably” in the last 17 years. She said there were two indicators of this change namely “the tireless efforts and persistent struggles of Afghan women themselves, and another one is the Afghanistan's constitution in which exceptional articles in the favour of the women are placed that have enabled women to get engaged in political and social issues in the country.”

The UN chief in Afghanistan, Tadarnichi Yamamoto, said all participants in the second conference of the Kabul Process for peace and security endorsed the call for direct negotiations between the Government and the Taliban without preconditions. He said President Ashraf Ghan’s offer for negotiations was “on the table” and called on the Taliban to “come forward with an offer of their own, and start direct talks with the Government to put an end to the suffering of the Afghan people.” Yamamoto said, “The Taliban’s argument that they will not talk to the Afghan Government because the conflict is not between Afghan parties misrepresents the reality that tens of thousands of Afghan people are killed and maimed every year in direct confrontations between the Taliban and the government forces.”

Afghan ambassador Mahmoud Saikal said Afghan security forces have increased pressure on terrorist groups across the country with international support. He said if the Government’s call for direct negotiations with the Taliban receives a positive response, the group would be granted the chance to become normal citizens, allowed to compete peacefully in politics through democratic procedures, and be relieved from Security Council sanctions measures. He said the Taliban must in turn give up their long-standing path of violence. He said the Government’s peace process “aims to protect and expand not diminish, the rights of [its] people, especially women; the time is now for the Taliban to respond affirmatively and seize the historic opportunity before them.”

Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag said there were clear rays of hope for Afghan women. She said in 1919, Afghan women were allowed to vote which was much earlier than in many other countries and now, in modern-day Afghanistan, First Lady Rula Ghani successfully promotes women's rights. She added that women were taking part in all parts of the Afghan system and female literacy rates have nearly doubled between 2013 and 2017. Kaag said, “Brave women show us that with perseverance and will almost anything is possible, as for many Afghan women their own situation remains too dire to overcome to overcome alone, facing violence, exclusion and discrimination; they will continue to need [the international community’s] support and helping hand.”
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