Afghan Women Are Blocked from Agenda and Participation at UN Meeting

A famous Farsi proverb says, “Whatever spoils, they put salt on it. But woe to the day when salt itself spoils.” We say this in moments of utter disappointment, when you feel you can trust nothing and no one. This saying rings painfully true right now, days before the United Nations convenes senior diplomats at its “Doha 3” meeting on Afghanistan.

Taliban abuses deepen daily, violating the rights of Afghan women and girls to study, work, seek health care, escape violence, and even just walk down the street. Many Afghan women look to the UN to make things right – to hold the Taliban accountable for their crimes, for making Afghanistan a suffocating prison for women and girls – but have been disappointed by ineffective UN responses.

The Doha 3 meeting, scheduled for June 30 to July 1, however, is a new low for the UN since the Taliban takeover in August 2021. The UN, pulling out all the stops to get the Taliban to attend, has crafted an agenda excluding human rights and a guestlist excluding Afghan women from the main meetings. In other words, those most impacted by Taliban abuses are being sidelined and excluded from talking about their fate by the UN. It also contravenes UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, which seeks to ensure women’s full participation in key international discussions. 

For weeks, a growing number of Afghan women activists in the country and the diaspora have called on states to boycott Doha 3, knowing that the Taliban would not meet with Afghan women.

Women and girls in Afghanistan already bear the burden of systematic repression of their rights, which they fight against every day. Reminding the UN of its obligations under Resolution 1325 should not be on their shoulders, too. The UN should listen to diverse Afghan women and ensure their full, meaningful, and safe participation in all discussions of post-conflict rebuilding of Afghanistan.

If Doha 3 moves ahead as planned, the UN will be setting a deeply harmful precedent, betraying Afghan women’s struggle for their rights. By abandoning its duty to uphold human rights and women’s participation in a shameful effort to appease the Taliban, the UN will be causing everlasting harm to its credibility.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *