Academy Award-winning actor and co-founder of the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative, Angelina Jolie has urged women to play a crucial role in the ongoing Afghanistan peace talks. The United Nations special envoy for refugees, Jolie was talking in support of bringing in peace between the US and Taliban, attempting to end the Afghanistan War. She argued in support of Afghan women’s rights and more female representation in Afghan government delegations. She also warned their exclusion would hamper any chance of lasting stability.

Jolie penned an opinion column in TIME magazine on Wednesday addressing her concerns for Afghan women.

“When the Taliban seized power in 1996, it waged a war against Afghan women. Girls’ education was banned. Women were confined to the home and denied the right to work. They were flogged, beaten, mutilated and stoned to death for supposed immorality. This is not ancient history. These are living memories for millions of Afghans,” Angelina Jolie wrote, who has served as special envoy to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees since 2012.

“Afghan women must be able to speak for themselves,” Jolie wrote.

She also donated $1 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the largest donation ever to the organisation by a single person.

“Women’s rights and concerns must be on the formal agenda, not relegated to side events or made the lone responsibility of female delegates,” she said adding the fact that women make up nearly one-third of the Afghan parliament and civil service.

Further, Angelina Jolie called for the U.S. and other countries to shake hands to support Afghan women.

“Afghan women should not be left alone to defend their rights before an organisation that has traditionally treated them as inferior beings,” she said.

READ: Meet Afghanistan’s First All-Female Orchestra – Zohra

According to Jolie, Afghan women earned the right to vote in 1919, a year before the US passed the 19th Amendment, and their 1960 constitution had guaranteed equal rights.

“Women should have leadership roles during the development and implementation of any agreement and be consulted on all aspects of the future of the country – not just ‘women’s issues’,” Jolie said. “There won’t be stability if a peace agreement ushers in a new era of injustice and oppression of women,” Jolie warned.

“The war in Afghanistan has been the defining foreign policy issue of our generation. After all the sacrifices made, we must seek to end the conflict on the right terms. We need a peace that is built on human rights in order for it to last,” she said.

Last month, Angelina Jolie also addressed the international body at its New York headquarters, and proposed to the diplomats about ensuring women and their inclusion in the Afghan peace talks.

Since 1996, when the Taliban grabbed power in Afghanistan Afghan women have been fighting for their basic rights since then. The education for girls was banned and women were under severe repression, and denied the right to work.

Angelina Jolie, who has settled into being a single mom, is fighting for the fundamental rights of these women.

Feature Image Credit: Azure Azure

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