When will Pakistan bring FATA back to Afghanistan?

"Respect for human rights has a stabilizing effect"

November 18, 2011 - In the current campaign "Don't negotiate away women's rights!" Amnesty International campaigns vis-à-vis the NATO countries and the Afghan government to ensure that Afghan civil society - especially women's groups - are significantly involved in the negotiations on the future of their country, that their recommendations have real influence and that their rights are not negotiated with the Taliban Fall victim. We demand in particular that Michael Steiner, the Federal Government's Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan and host of the international Afghanistan Conference in Bonn on December 5, 2011, participate in the Bonn Conference.

How do you feel that you get so many postcards?

Michael Steiner: In no way as a nuisance, but rather as a back-up for what we are planning to do in Afghanistan.

Amnesty fears that the progress made for women will be at stake in the negotiations with the Taliban. Do you share this fear?

Michael Steiner: That is a perfectly legitimate concern. That is why we are active in several fields. The aim of the conference in Bonn is to reach a consensus between the international community and the Afghan government that defines the central principles of the political process. Firstly, these principles should be formulated in such a way that every peace solution must be inclusive, i.e. all social groups are represented, and of course women are among them. Second, it must be stipulated that the outcome of the process must include respect for the constitution, including human rights, and especially women's rights.

What can Germany do at the moment to ensure that this actually happens?

Michael Steiner: First, we asked the Afghan government that at least 25 percent of its delegation should be women. Second point: we asked Afghan civil society to organize itself. It has now elected 34 delegates who will present the positions of civil society at the civil society forum on December 3, two days before the conference. The third and I believe crucial point is that, with the approval of the Afghan government, two representatives of Afghan civil society will present their position at the Bonn conference, just like a foreign minister. That is what we can do from the outside, but of course it has to come from Afghan society in the end.

The fact that two representatives of civil society will speak at the Bonn conference is a symbolic step. What can be done to ensure that civil society has a lasting influence on Afghanistan's future?