To support human rights advocacy efforts in Afghanistan’s regions, UNAMA facilitated the establishment of two new committees in the south-eastern provinces of Khost and Paktya.
The Provincial Advocacy Committees represent the latest development in national and local peace-building initiatives conducted during the past three years under the general framework of what is known as the Afghan People’s Dialogue initiative. In the initiative, more than 6,000 Afghans across the country have shared their grievances and aspirations, identifying the main drivers of conflict and proposing solutions to achieve sustainable, inclusive and just peace.
The People’s Dialogue meetings have raised awareness among Afghans about key issues to ensure that people’s concerns not only are heard and amplified, but also incorporated by policy-makers into processes and plans for achieving sustainable peace in Afghanistan.
The findings of the earlier phase of the People’s Dialogue were published in the form of a summary report in June 2014, entitled “Afghan People’s Dialogue on Peace: Building the Foundations for an Inclusive Peace Process.” A national conference held on 15 January 2015 in Kabul provided a chance for Afghan leaders to develop national advocacy strategies as part of province-level recommendations.
The work at the January 2015 conference built on the June 2014 report. That work is now continuing in a provincial meetings and the formation of advocacy committees.
The establishment of the two new committees marks the beginning of a new phase of advocacy in the Afghan People’s Dialogue initiative in the two provinces, with civil society representatives taking the lead in discussing provincial plans for peace with relevant stakeholders and decision-makers. The members of these committees include representatives of civil society organizations, tribal elders and human rights activists.
In Paktya, the committee held its first meeting this week, supported by the regional office of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). The members discussed the proposals set forth in the ‘Paktya Road Map for Peace,’ and made several decisions on the way forward.
In Khost, the first meeting of the provincial committee identified their main priorities and drew up an advocacy plan that prioritized meetings with the provincial Chief of Police and religious scholars to discuss insecurity and radicalization, which, according to the ‘Khost Provincial Road Map to Peace,’ are among the main concerns of the population.
UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and relevant international and local non-governmental organizations to assist in the full implementation of the fundamental freedoms and human rights provisions of the Afghan Constitution and international treaties to which Afghanistan is a State party.