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PROGRAMS

Women’s Rights and the Peace Process in Afghanistan

Georgetown University in collaboration with Peacebuilders in Afghanistan

Background

This project brings together a group of Islamic experts in the fields of Islamic jurisprudence, human rights, governance, and gender equality from a wide range of contexts including Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Turkey, US, UK, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, UAE, Qatar, and Lebanon, among others to work together to identify responses rooted in the Islamic tradition to the arguments made by the Taliban. 

 

As the peace negotiations in Afghanistan continue, it is critical for the international community to ensure that women are centrally engaged in the negotiations with the Taliban at every stage of the peace process and to support their efforts to secure their rights. Afghan women have been working to build peace for decades, and they have been fighting for their basic rights. However, they were not reassured by the agreement signed by the US Envoy in 2020 and fear that their hard-fought rights might be sidelined in the upcoming negotiations.

 

Religious ideology and arguments have been used to exclude women not only from the peace process, but also from social, political, and economic life. This is facilitated by the lack of knowledge in Islamic scholarship that is built on the Quran and Sunnah (Sayings and Practices of the Prophet Muhammed). As many scholars of Islam argue, Islamic tradition offers a strong framework to build democratic and equitable social, economic, and political institutions that respect and value human rights as well as women’s rights. While there have been a number of projects that aim to gather this information to empower women peacebuilders and negotiators, until now there has not been a toolkit specifically designed to help Muslim women negotiators and peacebuilders. Based on the Georgetown University team’s conversations with Muslim women partners who have been working towards peacebuilding and negotiations in their communities, they have identified this as an important gap. Therefore, they are creating a toolkit that will not only be helpful for Afghan women, but Muslim women working in a number of different contexts such as Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Indonesia, among others.

 

Deliverables & Impact

This toolkit provides a systematic discussion on different Islamic legal schools of thought and their methods and how they inform theological arguments (both historical and modern) regarding political, economic, and social systems including ethics of governance, constitutional law, international law, war and peace-making, and human rights including rights of minorities and women.

 

The toolkit also includes a comprehensive list of Quranic verses, Sunnah and historical examples that can inform establishing a political system that is built on principles of good governance, human rights and gender equity, and provides strategies to help negotiators work with the Taliban effectively.

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