May 02, 2018
The Canadian Embassy in Kabul held a symposium under the title of ‘Women’s Participation in Election’ with the aim of encouraging women to take active part in politics and the October legislative election.
The symposium was held with the cooperation of the embassies of Italy, Australia, the United Kingdom, Norway, the Netherlands, the United States and the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) with the participation of female politicians and civil society activists in the Canadian Embassy in Kabul.
Canadian Ambassador to Kabul, His Excellency Francois Rivest, expressed sympathies to the families of terrorist attacks victims, saying that women’s participation in the upcoming parliament election is important to improve the current situation. He emphasized on further awareness programs regarding the importance of election.
Deputy head of the independent election commission, Wasima Badghisi, said that more than one million people have so far registered to vote in the October legislative election from whom, 200,000 are ladies.
She said that the misuse of women was a matter of concern, adding that the ladies’ ID cards that are without photos could increase the possibility of the misuse that cause widespread fraud.
She urged that serious efforts and strategies were needed to prevent the fraud in the election.
Habiba Sarabi, deputy head of the high peace council said that fewer women are interested or allowed to register for the election in the rural areas. She asked the election commission and other related organs to launch more awareness programs across the country to inform people particularly in the remote areas about the importance of election.
Adela Raz, deputy foreign minister in economic affairs, said that women’s less participation in the election was a matter of concern. She called on the international organizations to help the government of Afghanistan in launching awareness programs and electoral campaigns.
Head of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, Sima Samar, called insecurity as the main challenges before the election. She said that most of women in the rural areas do not have ID cards that is another factor to decrease participation in election.
“People’s mistrust to the election and time limitation are other problems that election is facing with,” she said.
Naeem Ayoubzada, head of the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan, asked the election commission to appoint ladies as senior officials in the capital and provinces to encourage ladies take part in the election.
Hasina Safi, head of Afghan Women’s Network, said that most of women in villages do not have ID cards and there are no special awareness programs for women that are the reasons ladies get interest in election and democracy process. She added that no female employee is seen in voting centers in some rural areas. “This makes women not go to polling stations and vote.”
Deputy Women’s Affairs Minister, Nabila Mosleh, called on the women’s activists and organizations to hold practical programs to encourage women register and vote in the election.
Reporting by: Beheshta Ayoubi
Editing by: Center for Protection of Afghan Woman Journalists