Delegates

BAAG and the Civil Society Working Committee (CSWC) are please to introduce the 10 delegates representing Afghan Civil Society in Geneva. As delegates they will be responsible advocating key messages from civil society, influencing decision makers on policy priorities and two delegates (one male, one female) will be the Civil Society spokespeople selected to present a Civil Society statement on behalf of civil society on the 28th November during the main ministerial conference. 

 

  1. Ms Forozan Rasooli - Equality for Peace and Democracy

  2. Ms Tamana Asey - Forensic Science Organisation

  3. Ms Freshta Karimi - Da Qanoon Ghushtonky

  4. Ms Suraya Pakzad - Voice of Women Organisation

  5. Ms Frozan Irfan Mashal - Public Awareness Time Hour Organisation

  6. Mr Naeem Ayubzada - Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan

  7. Mr Mohammad Zakir Stanikzai - Afghanistan Institute for Civil Society

  8. Mr Mohammad Shafaq - Community Centre for the Disabled

  9. Mr Samiullah Hamidee - Helmand Province Bost Civil Society Organisation

  10. Mr Raz Mohammad Dalili - Sanayee Development Organisation

 

Civil Society Delegation  profiles

 

Ms Forozan Rasooli - Deputy Director, Equality for Peace and Democracy

“With every civilian killed, an insurgent is born.”

A refugee in Pakistan until age 16, Forozan is one of the youngest civil society delegates to the GCA. Having begun a career at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, she became a social activist through her work at NGOs and is now focused on human rights, peace and good governance from the perspectives of women and youth through her role at EPD. The NGO, which combines research, capacity building and advocacy, has established women’s networks in 15 provinces and works in 10 provinces to build understanding of good governance among civil society. It helps to increase women’s political and economic participation through agreement on quotas in official posts and by challenging cultural biases and mindsets. Forozan is advocating for investment to develop the industrial sector in Afghanistan to build a sustainable and self-reliant economy better able to withstand corruption and provide a future for the youth, and for the end to military targeting of the homes of suspected insurgents to avoid civilian casualties and subsequent suicide revenge attacks as part of a range of peace initiatives to take.

Languages: English, Dari/Persian, Pashto and Urdu.

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Ms Tamana Asey - Medical expert & Programme Officer, Forensic Science Organisation

There should not be any compromise in leaving women behind in Afghanistan – especially in peace talks with the Taliban.  People should know their rights and the international community should help to ensure they are able to exercise them.”

The youngest member of the Civil Society delegation to the GCA and emerging young leader, Tamana is also a doctor. Through her work as a medical expert for AFSO evaluating forensic evidence from hymen (“virginity”) tests in cases brought before the Kabul courts, Tamana has identified and highlighted flaws in the policy of virginity testing in prosecutions for so-called ‘moral crimes’. This has helped to criminalise forced virginity testing, but she advocates its complete ban as an institutionalised form of gender-based violence and a human rights abuse. She is a lead researcher in a study across 14 Afghan provinces on victims of forced gynaecological examinations and their physical and psychological outcomes. She is also engaged on mental health, human rights and law as well as on reproductive health issues.

Languages: English, Dari/Persian.

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Ms Freshta Karimi - Founder & Director, Da Qanoon Ghushtonky

 “I would love to see a time where we all can live in a better, peaceful and developed country. Especially I want to see the improvement in the situation for the women of this country who have suffered a lot. ‘Qatra Qatra Darya mesha’ - drop by drop a river is made.”

Freshta Karimi identifies access to justice and the rule of law as among the main challenges in Afghanistan. Co-founder and Director of DQG, which provides legal aid for civilians, capacity building for legal practitioners, also raises awareness on laws and advocates at policy level on access to justice and the rule of law. Through the work of her NGO which works in 16 provinces and her previous experience in the justice sector from 2003, Freshta has a good insight into the many issues Afghans face. She has provided input and advice on draft laws, including the Anti-Torture Law adopted in December 2017. She cites the poor implementation of laws, corruption and reform of the justice sector and unfair procedures that block justice as issues in need of urgent address for better governance.

Languages: English, Pashto and Dari/Persian.

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Ms Suraya Pakzad - Executive Director, Voice of Women Organisation

 “Our needs are so great. We need the international community to stay - and stay committed to Afghanistan. Security is the key. Without security, we cannot make inroads into women’s issues, or any other issue.”

A recipient of many prizes, including the 2008 International Women of Courage Award and one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2009, Suraya Pakzad is a globally renowned women’s rights activist for her lifelong work to help and protect Afghan women and girls from all forms of violence in the face of life-threatening abuse. She ran a covert school for girls in Kabul during the Taliban years which later evolved into the Voice of Women NGO. It runs five safe houses in western Afghanistan, providing refuge and legal services to more than 1000 women and girls subjected to various forms of violence, and works on gender equality and justice in 29 of the 34 Afghan provinces. Connecting the dramatic levels of violence against women to poverty and war, she calls on the international community to commit to tailored interventions focused on economic security, and for foreign interference in the Afghan conflict to end. Twice the subject of religious edicts ordering her assassination, Suraya lives under daily threat to her life. She is based in Herat.

Languages: English and Dari/Persian. 

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Ms Frozan Irfan Mashal - Founder & Managing Director, Public Awareness Time Hour Organisation

“The voice of civil society is growing weaker, not stronger, because we are increasingly intimidated by the fear of harm and obstruction by both government and non-government sides.”

A refugee in Pakistan for 18 years, Frozan worked for the Afghan government, international and national organizations before founding her NGO, PATH-O. Operating in northern Afghanistan, the NGO focuses on women, youth and peace and in particular, the implementation of UN SC Resolution 1325. Frozan highlights poverty and corruption as key factors of insecurity, the recruitment by anti-government forces of large numbers of returning Afghan refugees without homes, jobs or support, and the lack of women’s economic empowerment and gender-based violence as major challenges in need of urgent address. She is calling on the international community to abandon the short-term and one-size-fits-all approach to support for Afghanistan and provide long-term assistance adapted to Afghan realities and for better support and protection of a civil society increasingly paralysed by intimidation, insecurity and obstruction from all sides.

Languages: English, Dari/Persian, Pashto and Urdu.

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Mr Naeem Ayubzada - Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan

Our country is rich is diversity. Travelling intensively to rural areas, I have met so many different people with so many traditions, cultures and ways of living. They all want peace. They all have hope. They all need to know they matter.”

A former refugee in Pakistan, Mohammad Naeem Ayubzada returned home to contribute to Afghanistan’s reconstruction. He established an education centre for poor children on the outskirts of Kabul in 2002 believing education was key to Afghanistan’s future progress. During eight years at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs his work focused on governance, parliamentary engagement, election observation, gender mainstreaming and political party development. The experience led him to set up TEFA, an election observation body and network of civil society organizations which advocate for transparent elections. It conducted its first observation missions in the 2010 Afghan parliamentary elections. His organization has observed subsequent national and provincial elections, including the 2014 presidential elections and the first nationally organized parliamentary elections in 2018. Languages: English, Dari/Persian, Pashto, Urdu. 

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Mr Mohammad Zakir Stanikzai - Executive Director, Afghanistan Institute for Civil Society

“The Afghan government can’t tackle the challenges alone. Civil society organizations are key to development and governance for their reach to marginalized and rural communities in programme delivery and to overseeing public service.”

A rural development professional from Kabul with national and international experience, including the UN, Mohammad Zakir Stanikzai is focused on local governance, community development and strengthening civil society. He is the Executive Director of the Afghanistan Institute for Civil Society established by the Aga Khan Foundation in 2014 to help build a vibrant and competent civil society in the country. It aims to do this by certifying local NGOs using locally defined and internationally recognized standards to provide credible channels for development resourcing from donors and the government and to connect them to each other. He is urging the Afghan government to give civil society organizations the voice, space and support to do their work as it cannot tackle the challenges alone and need the ability of civil society to reach marginalized and rural communities to deliver programmes and to oversee public service. 

Languages: English, Dari/Persian, Pashto.

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Mr Mohammad Shafaq - Programme Director, Community Centre for the Disabled

“If we are serious about peace in Afghanistan, then we need to create hope for the people. Give them a vision of a long-term future with family and prospects that can motivate them to work hard for peace.”

Mohammad Shafaq’s mission is to make sure no disabled person in Afghanistan is left behind. Through his work, Mohammad monitors the level of implementation of the nationally ratified UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Although data on disability in Afghanistan is outdated and levels sure to have significantly grown since, at least one in five households in 2005 had a disabled person; 75% of people with disabilities lived in rural or poor semi-urban settings; mostly all were illiterate and without access to health services and education, and that 70% of disabled Afghans were unemployed. With an end to the conflict an absolute priority, Mohammad urges the international community to stop the privatisation and outsourcing of conflict which, by recruiting young Afghans, only benefits warlords and jihadis.

Languages: English, Dari/Persian.

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Mr Samiullah Hamidee - Founder and Chairman, Helmand Province Bost Civil Society Organisation

 Afghanistan’s conflict is not a war of ideology or religion, but a war between the haves and have nots. It is now a way of living for young people.”

Samiullah Hamidee is a young social activist from Helmand Province and one of two civil society delegates to the GCA based outside of Kabul. Born, educated and a life-long resident of conflict-ridden Helmand province, he and his team at Bost University provide legal aid services to marginalised people and communities. Founder and Chairman of his own NGO which only works in Helmand, Samiullah promotes and strengthens democracy by advocating for unfettered access to information, transparency and accountability. Drawing upon his knowledge and understanding of Helmand Province where more than half of the districts are now under Taliban control, he believes the conflict is not a war of ideology or religion, but a war between haves and have nots that has now become a way of life for the young.

Languages: English, Dari/Persian and Pashto.

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Mr Raz Mohammad Dalili - Executive Director, Sanayee Development Organisation

“The only strategy for peace is to invest wholeheartedly in poverty eradication and education.”

An Afghan refugee in the Pakistan city of Peshawar for 18 years, Raz Mohammad Dalili has won many international and national awards for his work as a peace educator. He believes that Afghanistan’s future lies in changing the behaviour and mindset of its young through education and to invest wholeheartedly in poverty eradication. The peace education curriculum developed by his NGO and rolled out to 35,000 Afghan refugees in Peshawar before being extended to 120 schools in Kabul, is now being considered for a national rollout. The NGO also works with 400 religious leaders around the country to leverage their power and influence in the provinces to resolve local conflicts and build community peace. Raz believes the poor coordination on peace and development initiatives between the international community itself and with the Afghan government is helping to fuel the conflict itself. He also argues for greater pressure to be placed on supporters of the Taliban and terrorism, including neighbouring countries, to desist from interference.

Languages: English, Dari/Persian and Pashto.

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