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UN Mission To Afghanistan Steps Up

UN Mission To Afghanistan Steps Up Moves To Help Women Register For Polls

The United Nations Mission to Afghanistan reported today that it is intensifying efforts to support women's participation in the electoral process, focusing its initiatives on those cities where the female turnout to register to vote is low.

Staff from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) this week met local officials in Kunduz, where women comprise about 17 per cent of the people who have registered since the process began in early December.

A UNAMA spokesman said officials agreed on the need for more public education for women in the area. Mobile radio broadcasts encouraging women to register to vote will be stepped up.

In Kandahar, where female registration is also low, UNAMA staff and local women's leaders have devised a strategy to make daily announcements of voter registration rates to increase local awareness.

The spokesman said measures are also being taken in Gardez and Jalalabad to boost the female voter registration rates.

Voter registration for the national presidential and parliamentary elections, scheduled for later this year, is confined so far to Afghanistan's eight major cities. Registration is expected to follow across the rural parts of the country once security improves.

Women make up just over 22 per cent of the 628,964 registered Afghans, according to UNAMA.

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