Ambassador Kelly Craft
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
July 27, 2020
Thank you, Jonathan. I’d like to thank the distinguished briefers here today for providing us with their insight and expertise on this very important issue, and I also would like to thank the co-sponsors for organizing this meeting. I am going to try and make this very short, Jonathan, but it’s really difficult when every word you have is important especially on an issue such as this.
We know that Afghan women, for far too long, have borne the brunt of this lengthy conflict and that they have been regularly excluded from discussions about Afghanistan’s future. We recognize there have been social, economic, and political impediments in Afghanistan that have hindered meaningful inclusion of women and girls.
No country can be successful on the journey to sustainable peace and self-reliance while excluding half of its population. That is why the advancement of women’s economic empowerment and the promotion of women’s human rights is, and always has been, central to the U.S. efforts in Afghanistan.
Through the Trump Administration’s diplomatic engagement and assistance programs, we continue to advocate for measures to respect and promote women’s rights, combat gender-based violence, create quality educational opportunities, help women to join the workforce, and expand access to quality healthcare. We also advocate for more Afghan women judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers, as these government officials are essential for upholding women’s rights and for ensuring equal access to Afghanistan’s justice sector.
The protection and advancement of the rights of Afghan women and girls, and the meaningful participation of women, in all political processes are not only beneficial to the welfare of the Afghan people, but also the future stability and prosperity of the nation.
We welcome the appointment of four women out of the 21 members on the Intra-Afghan Negotiation team, one of whom briefed us today and highlighted the important role of women in negotiations.
For the negotiations to deliver lasting peace, women need to be substantively involved at every level and in all peace structures throughout this process. Their inclusion will help promote negotiation outcomes that reflect the needs not only of women, but of all Afghans, including on critical issues such as political, security, judicial and legal reforms, social and economic recovery, governing arrangements, and transitional justice.
For our part, the United States is training Afghan women in negotiation, persuasion, and advocacy across Afghanistan. In 2019, 25 Afghan women took part in the U.S.-funded training intended to develop the skills of a cadre of female senior officials to be able to participate in top-level negotiations and to assess their implementation. They, along with female members of the negotiating team, continue to receive mentorship through an online platform of collaboration tools and expert resources.
These negotiations will have a direct impact on the lives of all Afghans. I want to echo the UN Security Council UNAMA June Press Statement which underscores that the economic, social, political and development gains made in the last 19 years, including with respect to the rights of women, children and minorities, must be protected and built upon. The ability of women and girls to participate in education, contribute to the economy, access health, social, and legal services, and engage in politics, law enforcement and the justice sector, must continue to expand in all parts of the country.
Women in Afghanistan have long championed these issues, and addressing them is critical for lasting and sustainable peace. We thank those today who have come here in support of Afghan women’s meaningful participation in their country’s future. The Trump Administration wholeheartedly supports these efforts.