With reference to the high profile Memory Box Exhibition at Ibni-e Sina University: On 25th March 2013, we brought a number of policy makers and stakeholders together to discuss the future. The event, which took place at the Canadian Embassy, questioned how we could take the Memory Box Initiative forward, both nationally and internationally. Over 100 participants attended, including civil society activists, High Peace Council members, representatives of the diplomatic community and various government officials. While the University event was largely about raising awareness, this one was specifically targeted at changing government policy.
Mr. Bisharat Khodadad had this to say: “The Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organisation believes that sustainable peace is a basic human need that can only be achieved if all sectors of society come together to find ways to overcome their differences and identify collective strategies for change.”
There were 6 Memory Boxes on display, and the women who created them were on hand to answer questions. We also created a panel to field proposals. This was comprised of Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn (AHRDO’s technical advisor), a representative of the High Peace Council, and Jamila Afghani (Head of an AHRDO-founded Women’s Council). The Canadian Ambassador gave a speech in which he stressed the importance of initiatives such as this to Afghanistan’s peace building process.
Ms. Jamila Afghani then laid down three main policy change proposals. Firstly, she argued for the abolishment of the Amnesty Law, which contributes to blanket impunity in Afghanistan. She suggested an alternative law be created, one under the name of justice and reconciliation. Secondly, she called for an expansion of the parliamentary agenda, to explore the social integration of the country’s war victims. This could take the form of an annual general assembly meeting, for example. Thirdly, Jamila Afghani suggested that a portion of the national budget be allocated to support these victims.
Ms. Jamila Afghani concluded by saying, “We created these Memory Boxes in the hope of contributing to the peace process in Afghanistan, and herewith, we would like to ask both the government of Afghanistan and the international community to protect our Memory Boxes for future generations”.