‘Doha meeting has raised concerns that the UN is indirectly legitimizing the Taliban’ — Global Issues


  • by CIVICUS
  • Inter Press Service

The meeting between the Taliban, envoys from 25 countries and other stakeholders, hosted by the United Nations (UN) in Doha, Qatar, has sparked international outrage because Afghan women were not invited. This is the third meeting, but the first to be attended by the Taliban, who are not internationally recognized as the rulers of Afghanistan. Rights activists have criticized the UN’s approach, saying it gives the Taliban legitimacy and betrays its commitment to women’s rights. They are calling for gender apartheid to be recognized as an international crime and that sanctions be imposed on those responsible.

What is the purpose and relevance of the Third Doha Meeting on Afghanistan?

The third meeting in Doha was convened after a meeting of the UN Security Council solution which mandated an independent assessment of the situation in Afghanistan, with the aim of facilitating Afghanistan’s reintegration into the international community and the UN. The appointed independent expert, a former Turkish diplomat, conducted a comprehensive assessment. While it acknowledged the Taliban’s human rights violations, particularly against women, it did not adequately address issues such as the persecution of minorities and the erosion of democratic processes.

The UN sees these meetings as part of a plan for a peaceful Afghanistan that respects human rights, especially for women and girls, and is integrated into the global community. But the decision to exclude women from these critical discussions is deeply contradictory. By accepting the Taliban’s conditions for participation in the talks, the UN is undermining its commitment to promoting inclusiveness and gender equality.

Why are human rights organizations criticizing the meeting and what are their demands?

Human rights organizations have been highly critical of the UN’s approach to the meeting for a number of reasons. First, they have condemned the exclusion of women from the main discussions. This exclusion was in direct contradiction to the UN’s commitment to gender mainstreaming and its resolutions advocating for women’s participation in peace processes. Second, there was a significant lack of transparency about the agenda and procedures of the meetings, particularly the separate women’s session that followed the main discussions. This lack of transparency has fueled concerns about the effectiveness and sincerity of the engagement.

Critics say the meeting focused on economic issues, ignoring important discussions about human rights and women’s rights. This has raised concerns that the UN is indirectly legitimizing the Taliban’s hardline policies. Rights groups want future meetings to be inclusive and transparent, and to ensure that women’s voices are heard. They want the UN to play by its rules and not agree to demands that violate human rights.

What is the situation of Afghan women under the Taliban?

Since the Taliban came back to power, the situation for women in Afghanistan has deteriorated deteriorated dramatic. Women have been almost completely removed from public life, allowed to work only in very limited sectors, such as health care and primary education, and then only under strict conditions.

Afghanistan is the only country in the world that bans girls older than 11 or 12 from receiving an education. Even below that level, there are severe restrictions, including the imposition of the hijab on young girls and a curriculum that increasingly focuses on religious instruction, which threatens to radicalize the next generation.

Women working in any capacity face severe economic discrimination. Their salaries are capped at unsustainable levels, making it impossible for them to live independently. When female health workers went on strike over these unfair conditions, the Ministry of Health refused to engage in dialogue.

The Taliban’s systematic discrimination places women in a subordinate position in all areas of life, from education to employment, and perpetuates a cycle of oppression and marginalization. There is a clear disconnect between the goals of the Doha meeting, which are aimed at achieving a peaceful Afghanistan with human rights for women and girls, and the harsh reality that Afghan women face under Taliban rule.

What should the international community do to support Afghan women?

To support women’s rights in Afghanistan, the international community must take strong action against Taliban policies.

First, the Taliban must not be recognized as a legitimate government until they comply with international human rights standards, including those related to women’s rights. Second, existing sanctions against the Taliban must be strengthened to pressure them to comply with human rights standards. Third, the international community must hold the Taliban accountable for their crimes, including violations of women’s rights, through legal mechanisms and continued advocacy.

The plight of Afghan women is not just a national problem, but a global issue that affects the stability and peace of the entire region. Ignoring the suffering of women will only perpetuate conflict and undermine efforts to achieve sustainable peace and development. The international community has a moral obligation to ensure the protection of the rights of Afghan women and to uphold the principles of justice and equality in any engagement with the Taliban.

What needs to be done to ensure that women are included in future conversations on Afghanistan?

To ensure the inclusion of women in future international discussions, it is essential that their participation is mandatory at every stage of the dialogue process. Women must be at the table in all discussions, as their exclusion fundamentally undermines the legitimacy and effectiveness of the discussions.

The international community must firmly reject all conditions imposed by the Taliban that violate human rights principles, especially those that exclude women. Transparency is also crucial. Agendas and outcomes of meetings must be openly shared to ensure inclusivity and accountability.

The public space in Afghanistan is being shaped by the CIVICUS monitor.

Contact the Afghan Independent Commission for Human Rights through its website or Facebook page, and follow @AfghanistanIHRC And @DrSimasamar on Twitter.

© Inter Press Service (2024) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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