Conference on basic principles for meaningful participation of women and youth in the 2019 elections
According to the 2014 report by Afghanistan's Central Statistics Organization 48.8% of the Afghan population are women. In the 2015 election report of FEFA also indicated that 11% of provincial council candidates and 16.21% in the 2018 Wolesi Jirga elections were women. FEFA has tried to find out about the presence of women in the political arena by setting up consultative meetings and group discussions. "In Afghanistan’s 2018 Wolesi Jirga elections, the problems that women faced include delay in the opening of polling centers, voter list problems, the late delivery of sensitive materials to polling centers and polling stations, poor biometric systems, lack of security, low level of women's awareness about their citizenship rights, the remoteness of polling centers, the proxy voting of men instead of women in a lower percentage and the lack of separate centers for voting for women." The program participants recalled a number of factors that understated the presence of women. In addition, FEFA discussed youth political participation by launching group discussions and discourses with youth and college students at universities, launching surveys to identify successful young figure of the year that the youth have played a key role in the last election and entered the process with a new worldview and as a candidate with higher standards they have entered the electoral campaign, but there are still many problems with the political participation of youth such as: Illiteracy and lack of higher education, financial problems, insecurity, drug addiction, unemployment. After conducting and facilitating consultation meetings to increase the women and youths` opportunity and role in future elections and political participations, FEFA arranged the general principles which are outlined in this report.
• Parties • Civil society • Media and Parliament members in eight provinces (Kabul, Kunduz, Balkh, Herat, Bamyan, Nangarhar, Paktia and Kandahar) • Youth • college students at universities
The proposed review and evaluation of the women and youth's political rights and their engagement in electoral and political participation in 2019
After 2002 a democracy based government in Afghanistan, gave people the right to enjoy equal and same rights to meet the political and social needs. Women and youths as a part of this democratic country, have been widely involved in government, ministries, commissions, parliament and other offices, despite existence of many challenges. By these reasons, FEFA has discussed women and youth`s political participation after the presidential and provincial councils in 2014 and 2018 Parliamentary election by launching consultations and group discussions with parties, civil society, media, parliament members, youths and college universities. In these consultation sessions, the status of women's participation in provinces was examined and the main reasons that encourage women's participation in the current situation were highlighted and evaluated. Also, FEFA has tried to identify the key factors that prevent women from taking part in the elections. Meanwhile, nearly the 73% of afghan population is under the age of 35 which makes up the country with having of the highest number of youth. So in these consultation meetings, FEFA and the participants discussed about the political problems of youth and arranged principles to increase their role in upcoming presidential election and political participation.
Role of the government in increasing the women’s’ participation The Government of Afghanistan or the executive branch of government, in accordance with article 22 of the Constitution: (Every kind of discrimination and privilege is prohibited between the citizens of Afghanistan. The citizens of Afghanistan, including men and women, are equal before the law with equal rights and obligations). According to Annex 1, Principle 5 of the London Agreement on Afghanistan, Gender Equality: By December 2010, the National Action Plan for Afghan Women will be fully implemented. In line with MDG goals of Afghanistan, the women's participation will increase in all government departments, including elected and appointed agencies of the civil service sector. It is considered obligatory to provide women with all levels of selection and appointment; unfortunately, the text of the London agreement has expired since about 7 years, but no significant work has been done in this regard. Therefore, the Afghan government is required to carry out the following for meaningful women's participation: Principle one: Increase of the quota of women as decision-makers in governmental senior positions (Managerial and exertive post) "The government should consider gender composition in all departments." Inclusion of women as decision makers governmental in senior (Managerial and exertive post) is very small and their participation in political positions should be considered in proportion to their populations by senior government officials. It is suggested that the leadership of the Afghan government, when appointing people as government officials, considers the gender as a fundamental issue, and, on the other hand, the MOWA as a Policy maker entity shall consider the gender mainstreaming in its policies. So as to be effective in dismantling women’s deprivations and reviving their political rights. The leaders of the government must fulfill their obligations in this regard, because the superficial and symbolic attention reduces the active role of whom indifferent arenas in particular the political and electoral areas. Principle Two: Participation of women at the administrative and operational levels of the electoral process. The Independent Election Commission (IEC), as a competent entity in the electoral field, has to play a role in increasing the participation of women in elections through the appointment of women at the leadership and decision-making levels in provincial and district positions. Afterwords, according to past bitter experiences (previous elections), electoral commissions should focus on strengthening the principles of impartiality and addressing gender based discriminations against women as an effective commission and make accurate decisions and exercise their responsibilities. It is strongly recommended that the IEC consider the following points in this regard: - Non-biased behavior of IEC staff at decision-making and operational levels against women; - Appointment of women in the provincial election commissions at the decision-making level to eliminate discriminatory practices against women; - The development of a mechanism to combat barriers that create gender discrimination and tolerance towards women through holding consultative meetings among women at the provincial level.
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