Afghan women leaders meeting in Brussels concluded a roundtable meeting, sponsored by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the Belgian government, on Building Women’s Leadership in the Reconstruction of Afghanistan. Participants issued measures to ensure the full participation of women in all aspects of the reconstruction process and the successful implementation of services to meet women’s healthcare and educational needs. Specifically, the Brussels Action Plan calls for the creation of a Commission of Afghan Women, which will work directly with the transitional Afghan government to identify potential Afghan women leaders for newly created government leadership positions. Participants also called for the creation of a Human Rights Commission in Afghanistan, to monitor potential human rights abuses within Afghanistan and in Afghan refugee camps in neighboring countries, and a judicial system capable of prosecuting perpetrators of human rights abuses, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
The Brussels Action Plan also prioritizes the need for the United Nations to send a peacekeeping force into Afghanistan, the need for voluntary repatriation of refugees, and the need to implement solutions for mass social problems caused by years of gender apartheid. Women are to be central in meeting these needs, as participants called for “integrating women into all aspects of nation building on a sustainable basis.” As a result of the roundtable, UNIFEM will establish a Fund for Afghan Women’s Leadership to benefit the capacity-building of Afghan women’s organizations.