Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – Shaharzad Akbar, Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission, asserted on victims’ participation in peace process in Afghanistan in an interview by NPR.
She said about schoolgirls and the school that Barchi, in West Kabul, is one of the poorest areas in Kabul. Most of these students come from very poor backgrounds. Their fathers are day laborers. Some of the students were also weaving carpets in addition to going to school and studying to support their families. And the school is one of the bigger schools in that area that was unfortunately attacked in what seems to be a deliberate attack on the school and the students and especially female students.
She added, a lot of violence, unfortunately, happens in Afghanistan. And some ways, violence becomes normalized.
Akbar said about the future of Afghanistan that one of the possible scenarios, unfortunately, is an all-out war, even further escalation of violence that’s already unbearable. And that will make everyone vulnerable.
She said about peace process in Afghanistan that if there are no women in the room or very few women in the room, of course there will be no meaningful discussion about women’s rights in the future of Afghanistan or even human rights in the future of Afghanistan. If there are no victims of war who are being represented and being heard by both parties, there will be no attention to justice and human rights.
She added, so we are trying to do everything we can to prevent that from happening, by documenting civilian casualties and talking about them and reminding people in the parties about the cost of war for civilians, for people who are not in active combat but are paying with their lives and livelihoods, like those schoolchildren in Kabul. Also, by putting pressure on the international community about the responsibility that they have to the Afghan civilians. And also by working with our own communities and elders and influential people in civil society and media to protect and expand the civic space to enable us to have a more inclusive process.
Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission director said about the future of Afghanistan that, the Afghan people – despite the adversity and the conflict have taken great steps to improve their lives, to improve the lives of their daughters, their children. Afghan women’s movement is so mobilized, so energized, despite the violence – pushing for cease-fire, pushing for women’s inclusion, pushing for human rights. That’s what gives me hope.