Women's Rights to Be Highlighted at Doha Meeting, Says UN Spokesperson

Monday, 06/24/2024

Stéphane Dujarric, the UN spokesperson, stated on Sunday that the goal of the Doha meeting is to encourage the Taliban to engage with the world in a coordinated and orderly manner for the benefit of the Afghan people.

Dujarric added that human rights, particularly women's rights, will be highlighted in all discussions at the meeting.

He further noted that the Doha meetings are part of a process, not a one-time event, and that Afghan women and civil society will remain part of this process.

The Taliban will send their representatives to Qatar late next week to participate in a two-day meeting with senior UN officials and special representatives from 25 countries for Afghanistan in Doha.

This is the third UN-led meeting and the first to include Taliban officials. However, the exclusion of women and civil society representatives from the main meeting has sparked widespread criticism.

Tirana Hassan, executive director of Human Rights Watch, told Reuters that excluding women from the Doha meeting risks legitimising the Taliban and causing irreparable damage to the UN's credibility as a defender of women's rights and meaningful participation.

Agnès Callamard, Secretary-General of Amnesty International, stated that marginalising crucial discussions on human rights is unacceptable and sets a very damaging precedent.

Rosemary DiCarlo, the UN's head of political affairs, and Roza Otunbayeva, the UN's special representative for Afghanistan, are set to meet separately with Afghan civil society groups after their meeting with the Taliban.

However, at a press conference in New York, in response to a question from Maryam Rahmati, a journalist for Afghanistan International, about the Taliban's opposition to women's participation in the Doha meeting, Otunbayeva said, "[The Taliban] are not like us. The Taliban have come from the mountains and from war, and turning them into people who sit at the negotiation table and accept our principles is not easy."

Otunbayeva said that the Doha meeting will focus on the private sector and combating drugs. She also noted that the upcoming meeting has created significant expectations that realistically cannot be met in one session.

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