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Peace talks sans minorities will be symbolic: Survey

13 Dec 2020 - 18:41
13 Dec 2020 - 18:41

KABUL (Pajhwok): Second Vice President Sarwar Danish has acknowledged government negligence in developing minorities cultural and language after a new research showed minorities were concerned over being marginalised in peace talks.

Human Rights and Elimination of Violence Organization in collaboration with Civil Society and Human Rights Network recently launched a survey in Bamyan, Badakhshan, Jawzjan, Nangarhar, Kabul, Ghor, Balkh, Nuristan and Nimroz provinces and interviewed 595 people belonged to minorities.

The people interviewed belonged to Aimaq, Qazalbash, Pashayee, Turkmen, Baloch, Barahawi, Arab, Sadat, Nuristani, Wakhi, Qarghiz, Gojar, Ismail, Sikh, Hindu and Magat ethnic minorities.

Deprivation and request for participation in peace process

The survey show that nearly 80 percent of the respondents expressed concern that they had no stake in ongoing peace negotiations while more than 80 percent others interested to play their role in developing plans for peace related programs.

In response to the question: Are you or your community being presented in the peace process? The interviewees gave negative response.

Taliban and minorities

In the survey, some interviewees expressed concern that a peace agreement that could lead to a high Taliban presence in the government could endanger the rights of minority groups.

“These concerns stem considering to the Taliban’s history of violence against minority groups and their ideological character, which refuses to recognize social, cultural and religious diversity,” the report said.

The source said that minority groups, particularly religious minorities, were mostly worried on the emergence of a conservative Taliban government, which could pose a threat to their rights to preserve their social, cultural and religious identities.

Suggestions:

Participants in the survey have individual demands from the government and the Taliban.

They call on the government to include minorities’ representatives and their suggestions in peace talks.

They also called on the Taliban to clearly announce their commitment to the fundamental rights and freedoms of Afghan citizens without any discrimination. Taliban should recognize and respect the fundamental freedoms of minority groups.

Second vice-president, Sarwar Danish in today’s meeting in which the survey was revealed, said, “Concerns regarding the rights of minorities in the light of peace and a possible post-peace agreement are justifiable, the rights of minorities may become under threat.”

He said that minority groups had the right to directly or indirectly engage in peace talks and send their representatives to negotiations.

The constitution gives rights to all the people of the country and recognizes the identity of minorities, but in practice, the government ignored development of the culture and language of ethnic minorities, he said.

Danish said that minorities had the right to worry about peace process, because minorities are a symbol of suffering, limitations, peaceful peace, and respect for the identity and culture of the various ethnic groups in the country strengthens and unites national unity.

Abdul Wakil Akani, a member of Minorities Advocacy Committee, said that the committee tries to share the voice of minorities from rural areas with the central government.

He said that if the rights of minorities ignored in the intra-Afghan negotiations, the peace established based on the talks would be symbolic.

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