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Inclusive democratic process enhance women’s participation: Panelists

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AT-KABUL: The link between public trust and citizens’ participation in democratic and electoral processes was the focus of a series of television roundtables in the western province of Herat.

During a UN-backed discussion on Asia TV in Herat, panellists observed that democratic processes that are inclusive, independent and transparent enhance citizens’ participation, especially women’s involvement. Panellists underscored the responsibility of “all Afghans and stakeholders” and the need for deliberate and systematic measures to ensure that women, especially rural women, are included and not left behind in efforts to build peace and democracy in Afghanistan.

A women’s rights activists, Gulsom Sadiqqi, said that the views and participation of women, especially outside urban areas, should be actively sought. “The obstacles are there, but if we all play our part as communities and individuals to include women, we can achieve a lot,” said Sadiqqi, while describing her organisation’s advocacy and community campaign of canvassing in the provinces to bolster the participation of women in the public sphere. “We move around to inform communities on political rights, upcoming elections, development projects, but especially encouraging women to participate,” she said.

For Abdul Qadir Kamil, a political analyst, elections are a means and opportunity for Afghans, particularly women, to make their voices heard. “Everyone must grab this opportunity, especially women because this is a rare chance to raise their voices by choosing representatives who can address their interests,” said Kamil during a lively and interactive discussion.

During a recent visit to Herat earlier this year, the head of UNAMA, Tadamichi Yamamoto met with Herat Governor Mohammad Asef Rahimi and reiterated the support of the UN and the international community to Afghanistan’s electoral process and the full inclusion and participation of women.

The television series, supported UNAMA’s regional office in Herat, in partnership with Asia TV station in Herat are part of a countrywide outreach programme aimed at creating platforms using radio, television, and social media for Afghans to engage in dialogue and discuss critical issues affecting their communities.