On October 13/14 2012, the Cooperation for Peace, a network of more than 50 German peace organizations, together with about 20 peace initiatives comprising of German and European Afghanis living in exile are conducting an international peace conference on Afghanistan for the first time.
On this occasion, the organizers release this declaration:
Afghanistan: Challenges for Peace, Democracy and Development
“Nothing is fine in Afghanistan” – this statement by the former head of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Margot Kässmann, describes the bitter reality of the country. Contrary to the statements of the German government war, suffering, death, and destruction determine the daily lives of the Afghan people.
- The growing number of attacks and civilian victims
- The largest material loss of the NATO troops since 2001 in August 2012
- The speech by NATO secretary General Rasmussen on the 2nd October 2012
- The current report of the International Crisis Group
- The latest report of the current head of the German Red Cross in Kabul
- The secret report of the German secret service
- The withdrawal of the Heinrich Böll Foundation from Kabul
An almost indescribable corruption level, drug economy, daily marginalization of women and human rights – that is the reality and points the doctored, colourful reports full of lies from German government into fiction.
War and oppression, absence of individual and collective rights, lawlessness – this is reality.
It is this reality that we – organizations of the peace movement and of the Afghan civil society – oppose our vision for a life in peace and freedom.
We know that the situation in Afghanistan is man-made and created by governments – war-like and brutal – but can be reversed by the will and the actions by the people.
Together we will continue to work for the right to a self-determined life in freedom and in harmony with nature.
We, the organisers of this conference, know very well that the foundation for this is to end the war and the occupation by foreign troops.
For this reason we are once again calling for the withdrawal of foreign troops, immediate cease fire, and for negotiations among all parties involved, including women.
For negotiations and agreements to be reached, Afghanistan requires a neutral transitional government which will handle all the necessary mediation, which will ensure women’s participation, a government of consensus that will pave way for a new constitution and elections with broadest political participation, including former insurgents.
An international Afghanistan conference involving all its neighbours should be held to reassert its state sovereignty. This move will be a path to peace and security in the region and will bring foreign interventions in Afghanistan to an end.
We know very well that this path to peace is not an easy one, it has its challenges and is not going to be achieved without sacrifices. We appeal to the all Afghans: it is vital that the war in Afghanistan should not be allowed to escalate to a civil war.
We are convinced that peace in a free and self-determined Afghanistan can only be achieved through active participation of civil society, especially including women. Further it needs to be supported by a wide international peace solidarity. A close partnership among all peace and freedom loving people is vital in achieving this and any sectarian divide is very harmful.
The future of Afghanistan must lie in the hands of Afghan people and it should be achieved through peace in-line with their culture and United Nations Human rights declarations. A solution for peace should not only be for Afghanistan but for the region as a whole.
We call upon the neighbouring countries and the world community to respect and adhere to the United Nations declaration on self-determination.
Any fruitful help to Afghanistan should be self-help and should be channelled through a legitimate government in-line with the country’s culture, human rights, and decentralized and grass roots structures. Neoliberal influence and plundering must stop; an own path of development has to be taken. Sustainability of development is the aim. NATO has to take responsibility for the catastrophic civil, economic and environmental consequences of the war – those who caused the damage have to take liability.
The vision for Afghanistan in justice has many faces, faces that have to be made concrete through democracy, social, and economic development. They include:
- A comprehensive and long reconciliation process following a 30 year war and civil war
- A participative involvement of women in all levels and the creation of a system that guarantees women and human rights
- A comprehensive education and training system for everybody
- A decentralized health system accessible for all
- A comprehensive and decentralised programme for sustainable peasant farming that will enable small scale farmers to attain food security and “small” prosperity
- An economic prosperity in line with culture, environment and the demands of society
Assistance from the outside is urgent. The already growing number of NATO countries absconding responsibility needs to be addressed. The construction plan needs to be overhauled and replaced with a new Afghan-developed plan. Here, the international peace and development movement is challenged.
Let no one say: this is an illusion!
History is made by mankind and can be planned and changed. The decolonization process, the major changes in the Europe of the 80s and 90s and recently the Arab Spring are some of the examples of how history and reality can slip in our hands.
We know that “it is the people who determine history” (Salvador Allende), also in Afghanistan. It is going to be a history of peace, freedom and development, a history along their own culture, even when the path is long and full of sacrifices.
We as peace movement will do everything possible to reduce suffering of people, and everything that ends war and suppression. We will continue to support development in which “humans become human” (Berthold Brecht).