Florida Congresswoman Calls on State Department to Include Women in Afghanistan Peace Negotiations

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., paired up with U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., paired up this week to call on the U.S. State Department to include women as it hopes to craft a peace agreement in Afghanistan.

Frankel and Brooks rounded up 75 members of the U.S. House to send a letter to U.S. Sec. of State Mike Pompeo calling on him “to ensure that women are included in Afghan peace negotiations and that any agreement protects Afghan women’s rights.”

The two congresswomen, who led the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues in 2017 and 2018 as co-chairs, offered the rationale behind the letter.

“During recent discussions between the U.S. and the Taliban aimed at securing a peace agreement, Afghan women were not represented. In March 2019, more than 700 Afghan women gathered to express concern that their exclusion might result in an agreement that undermines their hard-earned rights, and demand a seat at the table if direct negotiations take place,” Frankel’s office noted. “In 2017, Congress unanimously passed and President Trump signed into law the Women, Peace, and Security Act, which requires the U.S. government to promote women’s meaningful participation in preventing, managing and resolving conflicts. This law builds on the research that shows that when women have a seat at the table, the prospect that peace negotiations will succeed rises significantly.”

Frankel rounded up four members of the Florida delegation as U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., signed the letter. Deutch chairs the U.S. House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee while Yoho leads Republicans on the U.S. House Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee.

“The Afghan peace process is the first real test of U.S. implementation of [the Women, Peace, and Security Act], and we hope you take this opportunity to include women as decision-makers on matters of peace and security,” the representatives wrote. “The significant gains of Afghan women and girls over the past 18 years have been some of the greatest returns on U.S. investment in Afghanistan. Since the Taliban government fell in 2001, women have voted in elections and served as parliament members and government ministers…”

“As negotiations with the Taliban continue, women’s perspectives and the preservation of women’s rights and human rights should be at the center of your efforts, including by ensuring that women have a meaningful seat at the table. Sustainable peace in the country and the region depends upon it,” they added.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

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