Afghanistan Independent Human Right Commission (AIHRC) on Thursday, reacting to the Afghan peace talks between Americans and Taliban, warned that if the peace talks limit people’s freedom, people would rebel against Taliban.
AIHRC Chairman Sima Samar said human rights, especially those of women, should not be stepped on in talks with Taliban, otherwise people would stand up against Taliban. According to her, talks with Taliban is a transient political deal and rights should not be sacrificed for it.
Samar said the peace talks should be transparent and the process should not be rushed.
According to Samar, “If Taliban wants peace, then they should not resist against human rights and the rights of women. Because, this demand (resistance against these rights) will not lead to peace, this demand will deadlock the issues."
Samar’s remarks come after talks were held between representatives of Taliban, United States delegation led by US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, and representatives from Pakistan, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in Abu Dhabi this week.
While it is still not known whether the past 17 year’s achievements in Afghanistan were discussed or not, a number of Afghan women said they were concerned about the fate of their rights in these talks.
The women said their rights in peace talks with Taliban should not be stepped on.
“If Taliban becomes part of the government, will women have rights or not? Will women be allowed to work and receive an education or not? Will a woman still be allowed to be a doctor, or for example me, as a singer, will I still be allowed to work as one? And will a woman be able to go to Shahr-e-Naw and buy things for her children?” Aryana Saeed, an Afghan singer asked.
Meanwhile, a number of Kabul women and girls said when Taliban collapsed the Kabul administration and took over power in 1996, they closed the doors of schools.
Shafiqa, a resident of Kabul said when their school’s doors were shut down by Taliban, she along with some other students, studied in underground rooms and then Taliban closed down those classrooms as well.
Now these women and girls, a number of whom are university students, said achievements must not be sacrificed for peace.
“My future was damaged and I am afraid that my girls also may lose their future. I want them to get an education and their future should not be like mine was,” Shafiqa said.
“If Taliban wants women to have equal rights with men, then girls should go to school and get an education,” Kamila, a university student said.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands embassy in Kabul, also said Afghan women should be given a prominent role in the peace talks.
"It is up to the Afghan people to decide how they want to shape their own peace process. But the Afghan people are obviously not only men, but there are also women," an official from Netherlands embassy said.
The peace talks between Khalilzad and Taliban, in addition to raising hopes over the end of war and violence, has created concern among the public.
A number of people are worried if a peace deal is reached with Taliban, the achievements of one-and-a-half decades may be sacrificed.