Photo Copyright Cordaid
Ahead of the Brussels Conference, ACBAR presents the Brussels Series. Each week, find out about NGOs positions and statements about Afghanistan through a series of Oped, articles and interviews.
This week is dedicated to Cordaid and the op-ed "Peace is number one priority", an excerpt from their Brussels Conference Paper "Peace" (read it here). Cordaid professionals provide humanitarian assistance and create opportunities to improve security, healthcare and education and stimulate inclusive economic growth. Cordaid has been working in Afghanistan since 2001.
Afghanistan has suffered from protracted war and conflict for four decades. Despite massive international assistance in the last 15 years, political and economic instability is mounting and people are forced to displace and migrate. Insecurity increases unemployment across the country and forces educated Afghans to leave the country.
The situation of Afghan women is becoming increasingly precarious. Gender-based violence, exclusion and discrimination continue to limit women's access to justice, education and healthcare and their ability to participate in social, economic, and political life, particularly in rural areas.
Cordaid believes that peace and stability are prime conditions for people to rebuild their lives and communities. They allow potentialities to flourish, encourage people to invest and produce and create an enabling environment for public freedoms, promotion of human rights, political participation and public accountability. They are pre-conditions for equitable and sustainable development.
However, peace and stability should not be looked at as economic commodities, nor should peace efforts be judged on how much they will cost compared to other economic projects. They have direct psychological, social, political and economic impact. They also provide a favorable environment for recovery and development to improved quality of life of Afghans.
The peace process initiated some years back has had no genuine results. Armed conflicts are still ongoing and respect for civilian’s life has been flouted. However we reiterate our commitment and support to the process of New Deal implementation in Afghanistan.
Cordaid believes that the Afghanistan peace process should be inclusive and practical. It should be internally driven on the one hand and receive wider, strong and sincere regional and international support on the other. Neighbors, regional powers like Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, India, Russia, China, The Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the United Nations should actively engage in the peace process.
We propose to constitute a "Group of Friends of the Afghan Peace Process" to boost the process. Women, youth, civil society and warring parties should all be involved in the process to make the peace and its related decisions and action steps implementable and sustainable.
We suggest that the peace talk mechanism should be backed by the United Nations Security Council. We think the mechanism should ensure wider engagement and has to guarantee the implementation of decisions made during the peace talk. Peace should be seen as a basic human necessity, not as a political agenda to satisfy the demands and desires of the involved parties.
Afghans are part and parcel of the global, human family. The Government of Afghanistan and the international community have moral and legal responsibilities to play a constructive role and bring peace and stability to Afghans. Without peace, Afghanistan will remain fragile and development assistance will pay off little. Without peace, the world will continue to witness the death of Afghan women, children and men and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of conflict-affected victims. Therefore, we ask everyone in the Brussels conference on Afghanistan to support the peace process in the country, join hands and play a responsible, sincere and active role to make peace a reality.
This Op-ed is extracted from Cordaid's Brussels Conference position paper. Read the Position Paper here.