Afghanistan’s development proceeds in a climate of uncertainty due to an unstable and volatile security situation. As violence continues to escalate throughout the country, including pockets of the country once considered secure, UN Women and its partners face challenges that include political instability, nascent governance institutions, weak rule of law, poverty and widening food scarcity, deep-rooted discriminatory practices against women and girls, and weak human capital. Humanitarian and development activities of the government, civil society, and the international community are greatly affected as a result. In light of these factors, promoting women’s concerns, however challenging, is vital and situating women’s rights as a core element to sustainable peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan is imperative.
Despite a robust framework for the guarantee of Afghan women’s rights as enshrined in the Constitution and included in the National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan (NAPWA) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), both endorsed by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GoIRA), the majority of women in Afghanistan do not enjoy the most fundamental rights or have access to the most basic of services.
Among the more promising developments in the past year is the commitment of the GoIRA to undertake the submission of its initial report on CEDAW. In submitting its initial report, with UN Women providing technical assistance, Afghanistan will accomplish its first review of CEDAW implementation, including an analysis of existing laws in the country against international standards of women’s rights. Such an analysis of legislation and policy as it affects Afghan women will provide a central advocacy tool for Afghan women to address legal discrimination that hinders the realization of human rights.
Our work continues to build on programmes and partnerships developed with a range of stakeholders including the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), other line ministries, local government entities (justice, interior, social protection, health), UN Agencies, Non Governmental Organisations, community based groups and others.
The expected outcomes of the Afghanistan Country Office programme are:
- The improved capacity of formal institutions, NGOs and civil society organizations to address the preventive, remedial and developmental aspects of violence against women (VAW);
- The improved participation of women in peace processes that are pursued with gender and justice perspectives;
- The increased capacity of national agencies and local government to implement NAPWA and the Afghanistan National Development Strategy Gender Strategy; and
- The identification of opportunities to build sustainable economic assets for women.