On November 09, 2017, the National Advocacy Committee for Public Policy (NAC-PP) held its first NAP 1325 Sub-Committee meeting to discuss objectives and strategy for this specific sub-committee, and identify possible collaboration and coordination between different civil society organizations which work on women, peace and security in Afghanistan. The event was organized by Afghanistan Public Policy Research Organization (APPRO), the Secretariat of NAC-PP, following the NAC-PP Stakeholders Conference on October 12, 2017 in Continental Hotel.
Nine civil society organizations attended this roundtable discussion: New Message for Afghan Women Organization (NMAWO), Equality for Peace and Democracy (EPD), Afghan Youth New Era Organization (AYNEO), Equality Social and Cultural Organization (ESCO), Afghan Women Training and Problems Evaluation Organization (AWTPEO), and Development and Support of Afghan Women and Children Organization (DSAWCO). The chair and deputy of NAC-PP were also present.
Introduction and Presentation of NAP 1325 Sub-Committee
APPRO’s Research Manager, Hasan Raha, opened the meeting with a presentation which included a brief introduction to NAC-PP, its background, structure, objectives and scope of work, followed by explaining the advantages of NAC-PP, specifically the NAP 1325 Sub-committee. Those advantages include:
- Critical Mass and collective voice
- Effective advocacy based on evidence
- Protection due to critical mass
- Shared platform or better outreach
- Collective learning or professionalization
- More equal state-civil society relations and dialogue
- More access to state authorities
- More likely to influence policy process
The presentation continued with an introduction to NAP 1325 Sub-Committee mandate which is to facilitate evidence-based constructive advocacy by civil society organizations to initiate an inclusive, ongoing dialogue between state and non-state actors to collaborate and explore possibilities for gender equality using the legitimacy of Afghanistan’s NAP 1325.
The presentation was concluded with an introduction to the Afghanistan’s NAP 1325 and the four main Pillars of the action plan were described to the attendants. Then the participants discussed the most urgent issues regarding women, peace and security in Afghanistan and possible advocacy strategies to address them. The participants acknowledged that there is a need civil society organizations to share their existing capacity and resources and collaborate, through the NAC-PP platform, for the better implementation of NAP 1325. It was recognized that the sub-committee needed a clear strategy and action plan to prioritize and commence its advocacy activities.
At the end of the meeting, the participants shared their organizations’ experiences and ongoing activities in line with NAP 1325, and recommendation for advocacy programs to be used for developing a strategy and action plan for the sub-committee. Further it was agreed that the secretariat of NAC-PP (APPRO) will draft a strategy and action plan for the committee, based on inputs from the members who attended the roundtable dicussion, and send it to member organizations for further recommendations before the next sub-committee next meeting planned for December 2017.
To implement UNSCR 1325, the Government of Afghanistan has developed this National Action Plan to achieve the following:
- Participation of women in the decision making and executive levels of the Civil Service, Security and Peace and Reintegration;
- Women’s active participation in national and provincial elections;
- Women’s access to effective, active and accountable justice system;
- Health and psychosocial support for survivors of sexual and domestic violence throughout Afghanistan;
- Protection of women from all types of violence and discrimination;
- Provision of financial resources for activities related to women in emergency;
- Implementation of IDPs policy provisions related to UNSCR 1325;
- Put an end to impunity for violence against women (VAW) and related crimes;
- Engage boys and men in fighting Violence Against Women;
- Support and provide capacity building for civil society (particularly women’s organizations) on UNSCR 1325 and women, peace, and security;
- Increase economic security for vulnerable women through increased employment opportunities;
- Increase access to education and higher education for girls and women, particularly for the internally displaced persons and returnees;
Due to more than 3 decades of war, the following major areas require focused attention:
- Women are vulnerable to sexual violence, including: rape, sexual harassment, trafficking, forced prostitution, and forced marriages
- In remote areas, women lack access to justices
- As a result of the armed conflict and the marginalization of women in society at large, women lack proper access to healthcare services, education, and employment opportunities.
- As a result, illiteracy and unemployment rates are highest among women, and Afghanistan suffers from a significant maternal mortality rate. Internally displaced women and women living in conflict‐affected communities are particularly vulnerable to insecurity.
According to Article 22 of the Afghan Constitution, “[a]ny kind of discrimination and distinction between citizens of Afghanistan shall be forbidden. The citizens of Afghanistan, man and woman, have equal rights and duties before the law.” This Article is the foundation for incorporating principles of gender equality and non‐discrimination in government policies and initiatives. Women’s right to vote and representation in the National Assembly is enshrined in the 1964 Constitution. These rights were strengthened in 2004 with the new Constitution that set the 26 percent quota of seats for women in the Lower House (Wolesi Jirga) and 17 percent in the Upper House (Meshrano Jirga). Following the 2010 elections, Afghan women represented 27.7 percent of the Wolesi Jirga.
Articles No 43, 44, 53, and 54 of the Afghan Constitution articulate provisions on education, healthcare, welfare, and employment services for women. These articles ensure women’s access to education, healthcare, and employment in Afghanistan, which are pre‐conditions for their meaningful political participation as well as an important component of the relief and recovery.
The laws of Afghanistan guarantee the protection of women’s right and freedom. The government is legally bound to protect women against violence. In 2009 the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) Law was adopted, which lists 22 offences including forced marriage and rape. In an attempt to strengthen the legal provisions and structures to eliminate violence against women and increase women’s participation, the government has taken the following significant steps:
- Adoption of the EVAW Law
- Amendment of some of the provisions in the Civil Servants Law to promote women’s rights
- Development of the Family Law
- Development of procedures to prevent discrimination
- Development of Shelter Regulations, and
- Presidential Decree No 45 (Paragraph 32) on Elimination of Violence against Women.
NAP 1325 Pillars
- Increase effective participation of women in the decision-making and executive levels of the civil service
- Ensure women’s active and effective participation in leadership positions of security agencies
- Ensure women’s effective participation in the peace process
- Encourage women’s meaningful participation in the drafting of strategies and policies on peace and security
- Strengthen women’s active participation in politics
- Protect women from all forms of violence and discrimination through the enforcement, monitoring and amendment of existing laws and development of new laws and policies.
- Promote women’s human rights gender mainstreaming of laws, policies, and institutional reforms.
- Create an enabling environment for women to have access to justice through women’s effective participation in the judiciary.
- Protect women from all forms of violence through awareness raising and public outreach.
- Provide health, psychological, and social services for women survivors of violence throughout Afghanistan.
- Effect special measures to ensure women’s protection from sexual violence.
- Prevent violence against women.
- Eliminate culture of impunity in violence against women.
- Strengthen the role of women in the security sector and judicial structures.
- Effect gender‐related reforms in the security and justice sectors.
- Involve men and boys in the fight against all forms of violence against women.
- Increase awareness among women of their rights and their role in preventing violence and resolving conflict.
Relief and Recovery:
- Provide relief and recovery services for women affected by conflict, internal displacement and women survivors of violence.
- Increase rural women’s economic security through increased employment opportunities.
- Consider women’s social and economic needs in the design, implementation, and evaluation of relief and recovery programs.
- Implement the policy provisions of UNSCR 1325 for the internally displaced persons (IDPs).
The implementation occurs in two phases of four years each: 2015-2018 and 2018-2022.
The implementing agencies have been divided into two categories lead (governmental) and support (civil society). All lead and supporting implementing agencies will be responsible for reporting on their assigned activities on an annual basis to the DHRWIA‐MoFA. The DHRWIA is responsible for compiling the reports and submitting them to the Steering Committee for approval and subsequent submission to the President Office, the National Assembly, and the international community. The annual reporting will address the extent of activities implemented and financing allocated, disbursed and spent, progress made, challenges encountered, and suggestions to improve the implementation.
The Steering Committee was established on April 14, 2012, under Presidential Order No 434, and is an overarching body to advise and direct the NAP development process. The Steering Committee is comprised of relevant government agencies as well as a representative from civil society. Following the adoption of the NAP, the Steering Committee will continue to have a central role in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the NAP.
Steering Committee Members
|1. Minister of Foreign Affairs
|2. Deputy Minister (Policy) of MoD
|3. Deputy Minister (Security) of the MoIA
|4. Deputy Minister of Public Health (Healthcare Services)
|5. Deputy Minister (Admin and Finance) of MoRR
|6. Deputy Minister (Technical and Policy) of MoWA
|7. Senior Advisor of MoJ
|8. Director of DHRWIA of MoFA
|9. Deputy Director of NDS
|10. Women’s Rights Commissioner of the AIHRC
|11. Representative of Civil Society
|12. Director of International Relations of the Office of Administrative Affairs and Secretariat of Ministers’ Council
Monitoring and Evaluation
The Monitoring and Evaluation Plan consists of annual, mid‐term (after two years) and final review in the fourth year. The Plan includes tracking and monitoring of financing for NAP 1325 to ensure transparent and effective implementation under the oversight and responsibility of the Steering Committee. The government recognizes the important role of civil society as an independent oversight body for the successful implementation of the NAP 1325.