The concept of broad-based inclusive peace has been developed by Khudadad Bisharat, the founder of DelEX, through intensive literature reviews and series of consultations meetings with experts from different background in Afghanistan. The initiative has been immediately turned into a project sponsored by the European Union through and recently implemented by Human Rights and Eradication of Violence Organization (HREVO) and Afghan Civil Society and Human Rights Network (CHRN) across the different zone of Afghanistan with below details:
In the course of the past 20 years, Afghanistan has endured significant political and economic changes after a long history of conflicts. The “Bonn Conference 2001” which laid the foundation for a new state in Afghanistan is touted as a historical breakthrough. It laid the framework for the development of a new Constitution. Although the Constitution recognized equality as a fundamental right but it did not create opportunities for equal participation of all ethnic groups in the government and important developmental processes. Parallel with the development of key state institutions, efforts were made to establish peace through political processes.
To this end, the Afghan government has undertaken a number of peace initiatives such as the establishment of the Commission on Consolidation of Peace in 2005, High Peace Council in 2010, opening of an office for Taliban in Dohan and a nationwide ceasefire in June 2018. These peace-building mechanisms did not offer any opportunities for inclusion of these marginalized minorities either. Afghanistan is made of different ethnic groups but only 14 of them have been named in the constitution. The post-Bonn the state-building project provided grounds only for four dominant ethnic groups, namely Pashtun, Tajiks, Hazara, and Uzbeks to participate in power-sharing arrangements and exercise control over the key state institutions.
The non-dominant minorities were excluded and since then, they continuously have been to suffer from lack of political representation, legal protection, and fair economic development since. These dominated and exclusion minorities have not been represented in Intra-Afghan Peace Negotiation either, set in motion after the 29 February US-Taliban deal, which officially started on 12 September. With the Taliban adopting a more exclusivist approach at the Intra-Afghan Peace Negotiation in Doha, concerns facing dominated and excluded minorities have mounted and the prospects for their future remain extremely uncertain.
The current peace efforts only created a space for the inclusion of a few dominant ethnic groups in Afghanistan, while other non-dominant minorities still remain isolated from being involved in the peace talks. Still, a democratic space is needed for the voices of non-dominant minorities to be heard, strengthened, and finally incorporated into inclusive peace negotiation in Afghanistan. It is a key element to explore the voices of non-dominant groups on peace negotiation, strengthen all Afghan people’s desired vision and support sustainable peace in Afghanistan.
Although there has been some particular emphasis on “Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process” in general, young male and female representatives of non-dominant minorities have not been involved in recent peace negotiation, who remained isolated and unheard. These exclusions are facilitated by coalescence of interests that would not only ensure the end of the war but also reinforced the cycle of invisible violence and ethnic hatred and deepened exclusion in another way. Consequently, the peace process will remain incapable of offering real solutions. Instead, it is functioning as a pretext for excluding already-marginalized groups. Thus, responding to disadvantaged minorities’ needs have value both in itself, in terms of ethics and as well as a strategic value, and in terms of long-term political advantages and resulting in a feeling of sustainable peace in Afghanistan.
The success of the peace process needs to be accompanied by creating a democratic space for the voice of marginalized segments of the society and support the grass-root level in highlighting concerns, demands, and solutions for the purpose of lasting peace, based on local realities. Timely involvement of non-dominant minorities is thus critical to make wider acceptance and participation of the people from different walks of life. The proposed project is the incorporation of non-dominant minorities’ voices, demands, and concerns for inclusive peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. The current political instability and growing security deterioration strongly require the needs for the inclusion of disadvantaged minorities. Without the minorities, there will be no meaningful reconciliation, and without reconciliation, there will not be lasting peace, two elements that cannot be separated. In order to make Afghanistan a country where the rule of law and human rights are respected, inclusivity must be considered as an essential prerequisite for national reconciliation. In order to achieve this, minorities have to be incorporated in the ongoing peace debates and negotiations. The action proposed, thus, contributes to this end by direct involvement of the minorities themselves to articulate their demands and get mobilized to advocate inclusion and have a sense of being an integral part of inclusive peace.
The specific objective of this project is to 1) create spaces for non-dominant minorities to learn about peace negotiation, 2) explore and discuss their perceptions of inclusive peace, and 3) widen the spectrum of discussion on the nature of the conflicts and inclusive peace as a way forard The concrete objectives are laid out as below summary:
- To contribute to the awareness-raising of Afghan citizens, mobilized in peace efforts and engaged in the ongoing negotiation, in order to actively take part in the inclusive peace–building process;
- To initiate a debate at the national level on inclusivity of the peace process by bringing up issues related to the engagement of non–dominant minorities, which includes the launch of a policy briefing paper, conduct of consultative forums and advocacy efforts for sustainable and inclusive peace; and
- To analyze the situation of minorities, their understanding of their rights and responsibilities under the 2004 Constitution, and their knowledge of the current peace process. The subsequent research data will generate up-to-date information on minority’s rights for further civil society advocacy.
- To conduct constructive, evidence-based advocacy by civil society and the representatives of minorities to the Afghan government and its international allies for the inclusion of their voice in the peace process.
The project has been implemented in 2020 in 9 major provinces of Afghanistan with a specific focus on peace modalities, national and international legal platforms, policy frameworks/alternatives and evidence-based advocacy.