• Open Letter to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation

Open Letter to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation

06 October 2020

by Afghan Women's Network

Your Excellency: May Peace and blessings be upon you!

October 1, 2020

From: Women of Afghanistan
To: His Excellency, Yousef Bin Ahmad Bin Abdul Rahman Al-Othaimeen
Secretary General of Organization of Islamic Cooperation
Sub: Afghan women urge OIC members to call for a ceasefire

Your Excellency:
May Peace and blessings be upon you!

We would like to begin by commemorating the 51st anniversary of the establishment of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. We, in Afghanistan, recognize the importance of this institution and appreciate your support for standing with the Afghan people. During critical times, the OIC has stood in solidarity with our people by organizing conferences, issuing resolutions and statements and urging an end to the violence in Afghanistan. Thank you for standing with us and for understanding our desire for an end to the decades-long war in our country.

The women of Afghanistan have consistently pushed for an end to this senseless war that has destroyed so much of our country, millions of women widowed and children orphaned, and has disabled and displaced several millions of our citizens. The continuation of hostilities undermines our capacity to rebuild our beloved country and poses serious threats to the stability of our region.

While we are hopeful that peace may finally be close with the start of the intra-Afghan talks, we feel strongly that the OIC can help advance this effort by calling for a permanent ceasefire. The Taliban have been honoring their commitment to not target US soldiers, but their attacks against innocent Afghans –their very own people have escalated. These attacks, carried out in the name of Islam, are not only heinous but go against the upheld values and ideals of a peaceful Islam.

We understand that the road to peace is long, but the countless civilian casualties, daily attacks and targeting of civil society and peace activists cannot continue if peace is to be achieved and sustained. Throughout Afghanistan, people desperately want peace and have rallied in support of it, but they must be able to see some positive signs– some indication of progress from the Taliban– if their will for peace is real and if the group wishes to continue the process.

The OIC has already called on all parties in Afghanistan to work towards peace. We ask that you actively follow up on this call by engaging the different sides and appealing to them to agree to a permanent ceasefire while negotiations for a peaceful settlement continue – for the sake of their own fellow Afghans.

We also call on the OIC to support a durable peace that preserves the rights of all Afghans, including women, and that protects the gains we achieved with so much blood and treasure. The women of Afghanistan have suffered the most from this conflict as widows, mothers of martyrs, and targets of the conflict. We have much to offer in support and in rebuilding our country through our skills and capabilities. 

The women of Afghanistan struggle for justice and equality for all. As a Muslim majority nation, we are encouraged by the progress achieved in much of the Islamic World, accommodating more civil liberties for women and men. We are also encouraged by the many women across the Muslim World, from Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria to Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Qatar, and many others where women continue to strive for equal rights and equal access to services and opportunities and to be recognized as fully capable citizens of their countries. We and many of the Muslim women across the globe have shown that our holy and sacred religion accords women's rights and dignity, just like it has to men. 

Our hope for the future still shines brightly in our hearts. We count on you, the representatives of the majority Muslim populations, to support us in our mission to end the violence and not allow short sighted policies to jeopardize the rights and lives of Afghan women and all Afghans.

Our Voices, Our Future
Together Stronger
Afghan Women’s Network

 

We are a Coalition of Afghan women, comprised of Afghan women from across the country and outside Afghanistan. The Afghan Women’s Network together with a larger coalition of Our Voices - Our Future and Together Stronger work to achieve peace and demand an end to the conflict and equal representation of women across fields in Afghanistan. We believe in inclusive, just, practical, and sustainable peace in which women are equal citizens of Afghanistan.