Shaheen, Baldwin Lead Senate Call to Trump Urging President to Make Women’s Inclusion in Afghan Peace Negotiations a Foreign Policy Priority
(Washington, DC) – Ahead of tomorrow’s 20th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Security Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) – a senior member and the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – co-led a letter with U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and a group of Senators to President Donald Trump, underscoring the critical importance of ensuring women’s participation in the ongoing Afghan peace negotiations. The UNSCR resolution, which was adopted on October 31, 2000, reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peacebuilding and peacekeeping, humanitarian response and post-conflict recovery. It also stresses the importance of women’s full involvement in all efforts to maintain and promote peace and security.
The Senators wrote, “It is in recognition of this important anniversary that we write to you today, calling on you to ensure that women play an active role in the intra-Afghan peace negotiations and to make clear to all parties that the U.S. government expects the Afghan and Taliban leaders to preserve and promote the rights of women and girls during and following a negotiated peace agreement…The relationship between women, peace and security is irrefutable. Decades of data support the fact that there is a direct correlation between the rights and empowerment of women and a country’s stability and ability to avoid future conflict. We know that women’s participation in peace negotiations increases the likelihood of their success, their involvement in post-conflict recovery lowers the risk of relapsed conflict, and that gender inequality increases the risk of terrorism and instability.”
The lawmakers underscored that the message of women’s inclusion in Afghan peace talk aligns with the commitments the U.S. government made when the Women, Peace and Security Act – which Shaheen authored – was signed into law in 2017.
In closing, the Senators highlighted an open letter published last month that was signed by 26 former presidents and prime ministers, and 34 foreign ministers—including former U.S. Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry— that affirmed that women’s participation in the peace negotiations are crucial in the pursuit of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. The Senators also included a list of policy recommendations that would boost U.S. efforts to uphold the UNSCR 1325 and the Women, Peace and Security Act, as intended.
They signed their letter, “The lives and opportunities of half of Afghanistan’s population, and the sacrifice that U.S. and allied servicemembers have made in Afghanistan, are too important to not prioritize women and girls’ rights and leadership in a future Afghanistan. It is not enough to simply state that this is best left to the two parties in the intra-Afghan peace process. The United States can and should ensure that women are substantively involved in the peace process and that their rights are preserved moving forward.”
The letter – which is also signed by U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) – can be read in full here.
Senator Shaheen has repeatedly pushed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the administration making women’s inclusion in Afghan peace negotiations a U.S. foreign policy priority. In a hearing last year, Shaheen slammed Pompeo on the State Department’s reticence to support the rights of Afghan women during peace talks. In February 2019, Shaheen led a letter to Secretary Pompeo, urging the administration to prioritize Afghan women’s inclusion in peace negotiations between the United States and the Taliban in Afghanistan, and to protect the United States’ investment in the rights of women and girls. During a congressional delegation visit to Afghanistan last June, Shaheen met with a group of Afghan women who described how dramatically their lives had improved since the Taliban government was toppled nearly 2 decades ago.