Twelve Points: Stop the War, Rebuild a Just Society in Afghanistan and Support Women’s Human Rights
Anonymous, USA, Asia, Latin America
October 30, 2001
These Twelve Points were developed in exchanges among several women's human rights activists in New York, Asia and Latin America following the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States. They are intended to suggest alternatives to military action and the cycle of violence, destruction and death. Please use these suggestions in whatever way you find helpful.
The rapidly escalating cycle of violence and retaliation in Afghanistan and many other countries requires a response led by the United Nations and carried out in accordance with international law. A United Nations-led response offers the best hope for assuring justice for the victims of the September 11 attacks and the people of Afghanistan. The women of Afghanistan, long subjected to brutal repression by the Taliban regime, must now be assured a central role in determining the future of their country. The international community must provide the political and economic support necessary to secure a future in which women and all other sectors of Afghani society can fully exercise their human rights. We therefore urge all governments to support and implement the following:
Stop Military Action by the United States and Its Allies and Ensure Humanitarian Assistance
1. The United States and its allies must immediately halt all military action in Afghanistan. The U.N. Security Council should explicitly reject any claim that the right of self-defense authorizes further military action by the United States and its allies in Afghanistan and should itself take the necessary measures to restore international peace and security as outlined below.
2. The United States and its allies should not carry out any military attacks in other states. The United Nations Security Council must explicitly reject any claim that the right of self-defense authorizes further military action with regard to other states and other organizations.
3. The international community must take urgent steps to:
- ensure sufficient humanitarian assistance to civilians in Afghanistan and Afghan refugees in neighboring countries, including health care, shelter and food and involve Afghan women’s organizations in the delivery of such assistance; and
- protect Afghan civilians and refugees, especially women, from violations of their rights.
4. Military, political and economic support for the Taliban or the Northern Alliance from any State or other external source must be halted immediately in order not to prolong the conflict.
5. The U.N. must take the lead in peace-making, peace-keeping and peace-building in Afghanistan. Among the key elements that should be considered in developing a U.N.-led response are:
- brokering ceasefire and peace agreements
- promoting the broadest possible participation of civil society in peace negotiations, with specific measures for women's equal access and participation;
- ensuring disarmament and demobilization of all combatants;
- clearing landmines throughout the country;
- maintaining peace and security;
- preventing and responding to human rights violations;
- stopping arms and drug trafficking; and
- overseeing reconstruction.
The U.N. and the authorities of troop-contributing nations must ensure that any U.N. forces act in full conformity with international human rights and humanitarian law. In particular, the U.N. and national authorities must take effective measures to prevent and respond to violations against women by U.N. forces or other actors.
Support the Rebuilding of a Just Society in Afghanistan and
Ensure Justice for the Afghan People
6. Peace-building processes should be undertaken at the earliest possible time, with the goals of restoring the rule of law, building sustainable democratic structures representative of all sectors of society, and promoting a just social and economic order in Afghanistan. Steps to achieve these goals include:
- provision of the necessary political and economic support by U.N. Member States and regional organizations;
- promotion of the broadest possible participation of civil society in reconstruction, with specific measures for women's equal access and participation;
- effective guarantees of the right of Afghan refugees to return under conditions of safety and security;
- measures to protect the human rights of internally displaced persons;
- rejection of any attempts by the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, Pakistan, Iran, or any other government or external sectarian groups to interfere in the processes of reconstruction; and
- the requirement that decision-making about the use of Afghanistan's natural resources be carried out only when sustainable democratic political and economic structures are in place and the participation of civil society in such decision-making is guaranteed.
7. During post-war reconstruction in Afghanistan, an ad-hoc tribunal or other processes compatible with international law must be established to ensure justice for the people of Afghanistan for violations suffered in the past.
8. Specific steps must be taken to secure the full participation of Afghan women and Afghan women's organizations in all stages of peace negotiation and post-war reconstruction, including any transitional government and all processes of justice.
Redress the Crimes Against Humanity Committed on September 11 and Adopt Anti-Terrorism Strategies
Consistent with Human Rights
9. The perpetrators of the crimes of September 11 should be brought to justice using international law and procedures, through their prosecution for crimes against humanity by an ad hoc international tribunal or by an individual State acting in accordance with international law, including fair trial guarantees.
10. Future efforts to prevent and punish terrorism must comply with international law, including all efforts by individual States and the international community as a whole. Among the basic principles that should guide those efforts are the following:
- Anti-terrorism campaigns must not be used as a means of restricting human rights;
- The prevention and punishment of terrorism should be carried out under international criminal law and, where applicable, the Statute of the International Criminal Court and international human rights guarantees;
- All States, and in particular the United States, must ratify the Statute of the International Criminal Court;
- All States should ratify international treaties against terrorism and cooperate fully in their implementation, including the 1999 International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism; and
- All States must ratify and implement international human rights treaties, and fulfill their duty under human rights law to prevent and respond to human rights violations committed by private individuals, groups or organizations, or other non-state actors, including extremist groups under their jurisdiction that commit violations in their own territory or other States.
11. Strategies to prevent future terrorist acts should address the root causes of political and religious extremisms. Among those causes are economic policies that create the conditions of poverty and inequality in which terrorist and extremist groups can find support for their activities and domestic and foreign policies that authorize or condone human rights violations. As a part of anti-terrorism strategies:
- The policies of individual states and the international community should be aimed at alleviating the inequalities in and among States that have been linked to the dominance of free-market policies and trade regimes that favor highly developed countries;
- All States should adopt economic policies that promote the realization of all human rights and the just and equal distribution of economic benefits and at the national level and among all States;
- All regional and international organizations for economic cooperation, trade or finance, and their individual member States, should adopt policies that aim at the just and equal distribution of economic benefits among all States and among all groups within national societies; and
- All States should adopt national policies that aim at the full realization of human rights for all sectors of society, including access to health care, housing, education, food, water, and sanitation, without discrimination based on race, sex, ethnicity, class, religion, social or national origin, political or other opinion, language, disability, citizenship, sexual orientation, age, occupation, or other status.
12. In many societies around the world, the politicized use of religion by extremists takes the form of restrictions on women’s right to participation in public life, denials of their economic and social rights, and violence and repression in private life. These violations and the extremist beliefs that are advanced to justify them must be addressed by individual States and the international community as threats to the human rights of all persons and to sustainable open societies.
This statement was presented with signatures to US and United Nations officials on October 30, 2001.