Elders warn that the Security Council must not fail women and girls in Afghanistan


“Women’s rights are not Western rights,” she said, addressing the council in her role as president of the wise, a group of global leaders working for peace and justice around the world, founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007. “They are basic human rights, redeemed by women according to their cultural values.”

Afghan women’s participation in society ‘non-negotiable’

Mrs. Robinson, also the former United Nations High Commissioner for Human RightsHe called on China and the Russian Federation, in particular, to encourage the Taliban to recognize that women’s participation in society and girls’ education on an equal basis with boys, are non-negotiable and must be respected.

“Collectively, you have all been given a strong mandate to act on behalf of the United Nations,” she recalled. “A united and meaningful council is needed now more than ever.”

This issue was one of several raised by Mrs. Robinson, Lakhdar Brahimi, Cheikh Fakhri and the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria, who noted that the mandate of the United Nations is to protect the fundamental rights of all Afghans – including women and girls, displaced persons, all minorities and human rights defenders – the efforts that would require Council support.

In presenting his views on the situation, he referred to those Afghan attempts [former] It appears that Vice President Amrullah Saleh and Ahmed Masoud, son of the late leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, of the resistance in the Panjshir Valley, were defeated on 5 September. The Taliban now exercises near-total control of the country.

He said, “Today’s Afghanistan is not the Afghanistan I knew in the late 1990s and from 2001 to early January 2004.” “To say the humanitarian situation is dire would be an understatement and the needs are more urgent.”

Paralyzed and deserted

Mary Robinson, former Irish President and Member of the Elders, addresses the United Nations Security Council meeting on conflict prevention and mediation.  (June 12, 2019)

However, he said the flow of aid has stopped abruptly and the tendency of donors now is to abandon Afghanistan, because the Taliban has taken control of the country.

Most members of the international community are unwilling to deal with the Taliban, nor are they willing to give the government diplomatic recognition that the Taliban is still in the process of being over.

Mr. Brahimi said that while some Taliban leaders are trying to speak with one voice, others say they will return to practices during their previous rule, in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States.

Still others say they will reach out to their opponents to form a truly inclusive government. Meanwhile, Mr. Brahimi said Afghanistan’s institutions are paralyzed and its people deserted.

Famine, “inevitable death’

“Famine and despair seem like the inevitable death of millions of men, women and children,” he added. He stressed that as a first and very urgent step, the Secretary-General – operating with the full support of a unified Security Council – should send a Special Representative to Kabul to begin a frank discussion with the Taliban leadership.

A critical humanitarian program must be put in place, he said, noting that the Taliban did not interfere with the work of local staff after withdrawing internationally recruited personnel in the 1990s.

United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)United Nations Assistance Mission in AfghanistanHe said that there is a need now more than ever, suggesting that the council limit the renewal of its next mandate to a six-month technical extension in order to consolidate it for the upcoming new phase.

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