Amnesty International warns credibility of Doha meeting at risk without human rights focus

The credibility of the upcoming Doha meeting on Afghanistan will be severely undermined if it fails to address the country’s human rights crisis, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Agnes Callamard warned on Friday.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, which is scheduled to take place in less than two weeks and will include special envoys from various countries as well as the Taliban, Callamard emphasized the importance of including Afghan women human rights defenders and other stakeholders from Afghan civil society.

“The credibility of this meeting will be in tatters if it doesn’t adequately address the human rights crisis in Afghanistan and fails to involve Afghan women human rights defenders and other relevant stakeholders from Afghan civil society,” Callamard stated.

She condemned any efforts to sideline human rights discussions, calling it “unacceptable” and warning that it would set a “deeply damaging precedent.” Callamard added, “Caving into the Taliban’s conditions to secure their participation in the talks would risk legitimizing their gender-based institutionalized system of oppression – a system that has sought to erase women and girls from society by callously stripping them of their most fundamental rights.”

Callamard urged the international community to adopt a clear and united stance, insisting that the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan are non-negotiable. “They must be at the heart of the UN-convened meeting in Doha, which should result in their restoration,” she asserted.

During a U.N. Security Council meeting on Afghanistan on Friday, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. also stressed the importance of including Afghanistan’s civil society members and women’s representatives in the discussions.