Any pact with Taliban must guarantee rights of Afghan women – UN panel
NEW YORK - Any agreement between the Afghan Government and the Taliban should include a clear commitment to protect women’s human rights, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women said today.
The Committee, which consists of 23 experts on women’s rights, voiced deep concern at “the absence of clear strategies to protect women’s rights in the process of the discussions leading to negotiations with representatives of the Taliban,” which severely restricted women’s freedom before its ouster in 2001, including the right of girls to schooling.
While welcoming the current commitment and efforts of the Government and its international allies to help secure a peaceful, prosperous and democratic future, it urged the Government and its allies “to ensure that women representatives are included in the upcoming peace and development dialogues and negotiations with the Taliban.”
The Committee also regretted the exclusion of Afghan women from the high decision-making level of an international conference on the war-torn country in London last month.
“Afghan women, who constitute the majority of the Afghan population, must be full and equal participants in decision-making, at all levels, in the process of peacebuilding, reconciliation, reconstruction and development of their country,” it said in a news release.
“Their voices and views, as well as capacities, are fundamental and necessary for the sustainable establishment of a prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan, based on the rule of law, democracy, justice, human rights and gender equality.”
The Committee called on the Afghan Government to give special attention to a critical review of all discriminatory laws and provisions, drawing particular attention to the much-criticized new personal status law of the Shiite minorities, which is especially discriminatory against women, urging it to modify or repeal them.
The Committee monitors implementation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which has been ratified by 186 States.