Peacekeeping for Protection of Afghan Women

H. E. Ambassador Byrne Nason, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations

On Friday August 6th, the international community finally responded to the tragedy unfolding in Afghanistan, when the United Nations Security Council met to address the issue. Members of international civil society who have been endeavoring since May, to persuade international actors with the power to act to hold back the violence against women and other vulnerable groups unleashed by the withdrawal of NATO and US troops, welcomed the session. These activists assert that the human rights and security of women and girls must be integral to whatever course of action the world body determines to take, and call for the following:

  • A ceasefire to establish civil order and make possible an inclusively negotiated peace;
  • The invocation of UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security to deploy peacekeepers to protect women;
  • Enlisting, training of peacekeeping forces according to the principles of 1325, and regular monitoring to prevent violence against women.

These calls were put forth in a letter to the Ambassador Ireland of the United Nations who had announced that during Ireland’s presidency of the Security Council, Afghanistan would be on the agenda. That letter, already signed by many from throughout the world, was scheduled to be sent with many more signatures, before the convening of the Council in September. In light of the session of August 6th, the letter was sent to Ambassador Nason on August 5th with only those signatures obtained by that date. Copies of the letter were sent to other Security Council members.

The letter is still open for signature, and is posted here for additional signatures and organizational endorsements. The list of additional those who sign after August 5th will also be sent to Ambassador Nason and others on the current Security Council. We ask you to join in this effort, by signing this call to protect Afghan women, to establish UNSCR 1325 as a practically applicable international norm, and to assure that peacekeepers are prepared to honor its principles.

To: H. E. Ambassador Byrne Nason, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations
From: [Your Name]

H. E. Ambassador Byrne Nason
Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations
885 Second Ave
New York, New York 10017

August 5, 2021

Regarding: Peacekeeping for Protection of Afghan Women

Dear Ambassador Nason:

We, as members of an international network of civil society groups, public office holders and professionals, advocating for action for the protection and defense of the human rights of Afghan women, write to thank you for putting this issue on the September agenda of the UN Security Council. We especially welcome your inclusion of NGOs in the preparation for the session.

We appreciate Ireland’s long standing support for UN Security Council Resolution 1325, and having been an early signator of the Compact on Women Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action. As many of us have written to our respective UN Ambassadors and Foreign Ministers, obligations under 1325, reinforced by the Compact should be fulfilled with action on the part of the international community.

Security Council discussions related to the expiration and renewal of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan offer an opportunity to consider such action, including the deployment of a peacekeeping operation. We have advocated such action and hope it will be considered, as the urgency of Afghan women’s situation becomes more severe.

In calling for such action, we are mindful that some peacekeepers in past operations have perpetrated violence against women. Should peacekeepers be dispatched to protect women and effectuate a ceasefire for that purpose and to establish civil order to make possible the political settlement, we urge that every possible effort to assure that such gender violence does not occur is taken in the enlistment and preparation of all contributed forces. Toward that end, some of us are preparing suggested guidelines for training and monitoring according to the principles of 1325. Should these suggestions be of interest, we can forward the present draft.

With our appreciation and best wishes for a successful Security Council Presidency,

(The names of persons listed blow were signed as individuals. Institutions and organizations are noted only for identification)

****Signatures as of August 5, 2021****

Rev. Chloe Breyer, USA
Interfaith Center of New York

Ellen Chesler, USA
Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies

Betty A. Reardon, USA
International Institute on Peace Education

Sakena Yacoobi, Afghanistan
Afghan Institute of Learning

Ingeborg Breines, Norway
Former Director of UNESCO
Former Co-President of the International Peace Bureau

Marilou McPhedran, Canada
Independent Senator

Maria Victoria Balleza Cabrera, The Philppines
Global Network of Women Peacebuilders

Ursula Oswald Spring, Mexico,
Honorary President of CLAIP, former Sect. General of CLAIP and IPRA

Kaisa Savolainen, Finland
Former UNESCO Head of Department of Education for a Culture of Peace

Tarja Virtanen, Finland
Former UNESCO Director and Representative, (ret)

Kozue Akibyashi, Japan
Doshisha University
Former International President of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

Suzuyo Takazato, Japan
Founding organizer of Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence against Women

Asha Hans, India
Sansristi, research on women’s issues

Swarna Rajagopalan, India
Peace Educator
Founder of The Prajnya Trust

Magnus Haavelsrud, Norway
Professsor Emeritus, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Alicia Cabezudo, Argentina
Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace

Loreta Castro, Philippines
Founding Director, Center for Peace Education, Miriam College

Jasmin Nario-Galace, Philippines
Women Peacekeepers-Pilipinas & Pax Christi Asia-Pacific

Kevin Mc Bride, Aoterea/New Zealand
Pax Christi

Wahid Omar, Afghanistan
Emeritus Board Member Afghans4Tomorrow

Werner Wintersteiner, Austria
Professor Emeritus Klagenfurt University

Mairead Heaney, Ireland
Psychotherapist and Community Worker (Ret)

Roisin Kelley, Ireland
Manager Mullingar Women’s Project (Ret)

Ian Gibson, UK/Japan
Kyoto University of Foreign Studies

Fr. Nandana Manatunga, Sri Lanka
Kandy Human Rights Office

Fr. Claude Mostowick, Australia
President, PaxChristi-Australia

Richard W. Halperin, Ireland
Former Chief of Section on Education UNESCO

Tony Jenkins, USA
Global Campaign for Peace Education

Sally Mc Laren, Australia
School of Humanities and Languages UNSW Sidney

Albie Sharpe, Australia
School of Public Health the University of Technology Sidney

Alicia Botardo, Philippines
Pres. Philippine Council for Peace and Global Education

Esta Tina Ottman, UK/Japan
Doshisha University Faculty of Global and Regional Studies

Irma-Kaarina Ghosn, Finland/Lebanon
Founding Director of the Institute for Peace and Justice Education
Lebanese American University

Masuda Sultan, Afghanistan
Co-founder, Women for Afghan Women

Fran Baum AO, Australia
Finders University

Anthony Zwi, Australia
Prof. of Global Health and Development UNSW Sidney

****Names of individuals who signed after August 5, 2020****

Federico Mayor, Spain
President of the Foundation for a Culture of Peace
Director General of UNESCO (1987-1999)

Sally Armstrong, OC, Canada
Journalist, film maker

Cora Weiss, USA
Former President and UN representative of the International Peace Bureau
Among the initiators of the civil society effort that lead to the adoption of UNSCR 1325

Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdury, Bangladesh
As President of the Security Council in March 2000 initiated precursor decision that led to the October 2000 adoption of UNSCR 1325


Canadian Council of Afghan Women

Afghan Women’s Organization, Canada

Canadian Women for Afghan Women

Women’s Regional Network, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India

Global Campaign for Peace Education

International Institute on Peace Education

(Copies to other ambassadors and members of the Security Council)