Rights group urges UN to demand Taliban include women in talks about future

As the United Nations and the Taliban prepare to discuss Afghanistan in Doha, Qatar, on June 30, a New York-based global women’s rights advocacy nongovernmental organization has urged the U.N. to demand the Taliban ensure full and equal participation of Afghan women, peacebuilders and human rights defenders in all discussions about Afghanistan’s future.

During forthcoming meetings, the U.N. Security Council should demand that “the Taliban immediately reverse all policies and practices that restrict the full enjoyment of women’s human rights, in accordance with Afghanistan’s international obligations, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), as well as relevant Security Council resolutions,” the group, the Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, said in a communication posted May 30 on its website.

Since taking power nearly three years ago, the Taliban have systematically violated women’s human rights in both policy and practice by codifying gender-based discrimination across nearly every aspect of public and private life, including the recent announcement that the Taliban intend to resume public stoning of women as punishment for adultery, the group said in the digital communication “Monthly Action Points for the Security Council June 2024.”

Afghan rights activists say the upcoming Doha meeting is an opportunity for the United Nations to raise the issue of restrictions on Afghan women with the Taliban.

Shinkai Karokhail, an Afghan women’s rights activist based in Canada, told VOA that the call for inclusion of Afghan women in conversations about their future is of critical significance.

“Afghan women inclusion is important given their significant sufferings and exclusion from societal, economic and political life due to political changes in Afghanistan,” said Karokhail, who added the Doha meeting agenda should prioritize the concerns of the Afghan community.

Azizuddin Maarij, a London-based Afghan rights activist, said women must be part of the upcoming Doha meeting.

“The meeting should invite women, men and civil activists who have actively worked for Afghan women’s rights,” Maarij told VOA via Skype.

Adela Behram, an Afghan women’s rights activist and former Afghan presidential adviser, told VOA the international community should put pressure on the Taliban to change their ban on the education of women.

The Doha meeting scheduled for June 30 will be the third gathering on Afghanistan in Qatar’s capital since U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres initiated the process in May 2023, in a bid to increase interaction with Afghan Taliban “in a structured manner.”

The Taliban have not officially announced that they will participate in the Doha meeting. A Taliban foreign ministry spokesperson cited Taliban senior official Zakir Jalali in a May 29 post on the social media platform X, that “representatives of the Islamic emirate will take part in the main discussions” in Doha.

Jalali said the Taliban foreign ministry was waiting for the U.N. to share the latest details about the Doha huddle to enable Kabul to send its delegation there.

The U.N. has not issued an agenda for the planned meeting in Doha but the global agency’s under-secretary-general for political and peacebuilding affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, visited Afghanistan from May 18 to 21, where her discussions, apart from other issues, with Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi were focused on the Doha meetings.

DiCarlo, in her May 28 address to a U.N. Security Council meeting, cited Afghanistan as a “crying example” where women and girls are systematically denied rights and dignity, particularly in education.

This story originated in VOA’s Deewa Service.

Rights group urges UN to demand Taliban include women in talks about future