01.12.2011 - UNESCO Office in Kabul

Seminar on Constitutionalism and Democracy in Afghanistan

@UNESCO/Mohammad Amin Sadiqi

The Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture held a two day conference from 29 to 30 November 2011 to reflect on Constitutionalism and democracy in Afghanistan. Democracy has been a hot issue of discussion in Afghanistan, especially in the past ten years after the presence of the international community. The two day seminar tried to explore the origins, evolution and its compatibility with the Afghan social characteristics.

His Excellency Mr. Sayed Makhdum Raheen, praised the unknown figures in Afghanistan’s history who sacrificed their lives on the way of achieving constitutional based government in the country. He emphasized that Afghanistan’s intellectuals called for democracy and achieved that for short periods, in 1920s and 1940th when most of the Afghan neighboring countries were dominated by authoritarian governments. “We should be proud of our history and should try to build on what we already had.” said Mr. Raheen.

UNESCO Representative to Afghanistan, Mr. Shigeru Aoyagi, highlighted UNESCO’s mandate to promote freedom of expression and media around the world and in Afghanistan. “It is very significant<a name="_GoBack"></a> that we see the process of constitutionalism started in the country by a newspaper in 1907, which shows the crucial role of media in building a democratic country,” said Mr. Aoyagi. UNESCO, he emphasized, continues its support to Afghan government through Ministry of Information and Culture to ensure freedom of media in the country as a basis for democratic society.

Since early 20th century Afghanistan has experienced few waves of democratic movements which started in 1907 and continued up to, what is called the decade of democracy, from 1963 to 1973. Since 1979 Afghanistan has been in different conflict, from uprising against the Soviet invasion to the fight against the Taliban fundamentalism. The participants to the seminar stressed that the efforts such as seminar on constitutionalism and democracy provides the platform for transition from an in conflict country towards sustainable democracy and stability.

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