Afghan envoy to UN: Women’s calls must be heard and supported

Naseer Ahmad Faiq, Chargé d’Affaires of Afghanistan’s permanent mission to the UN, has called on the international community to continue supporting Afghan women and girls.

Addressing an event on “Promoting Women’s and Girls’ Equal Social, Economic and Political Rights in Afghanistan” at the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday, Faiq stated that the people of Afghanistan face multiple obstacles and because the Taliban failed to “establish an accountable, functional, responsible and inclusive system of government based on the will of people.”

He said the Taliban’s behavior has reversed all hard-gained achievements Afghanistan made in the past two decades in different areas, including in the promotion of gender equality and women empowerment.

According to him, Afghan women and girls have been the prime victims of the Taliban’s policies, and they have systematically been erased from all social, economic, political, and security spheres.

“Today the people of Afghanistan face multiple humanitarian, economic, social, and political crises because of the Taliban’s failure to establish an accountable, functional, responsible, and inclusive system of government based on the will of people,” he said.

“These policies aimed at systematically erasing women from spheres of the society…these policies are against Islamic values and fundamental human rights law,” Faiq said.

Faiq warned that the continuation of the Taliban’s policies towards Afghan women will further deteriorate the socio-economic situation in Afghanistan and will hamper efforts by the people of Afghanistan for achieving self-reliance, sustainable development goals, and ultimately peace and prosperity.

Faiq stated that Afghan women’s call for justice must be “heard and supported.”

“The United Nations member states, the UN secretary General, donor countries, international institutions, and civil society organizations have shared and moral responsibility to support and stand by Afghan women through coherence, unity, and tangible actions,” he added.

Heather Ibrahim, President and Founder of Global Fund for Widows, who also attended the event, said widows in Afghanistan account for at least 50 percent of the female population. “We are working strongly to bring the rights of widows and their vulnerability to the forefront of the Security Council.”

Meanwhile, Ireland’s Permanent Representative to the UN Martin Gallagher, also stated that the Taliban must be held accountable for their behavior.

“The Taliban needs to be judged on what they do not do and not what they say and that is what we have always said and I think we are seeing what they are doing and it is certainly not what they said they are going to do and they need to be held accountable,” Gallagher said. 

Rina Amiri, the US Special Representative for Afghan women and girls who also attended the meeting, emphasized the need to raise Afghan women’s voices.“Over and over again I have heard from Afghan women who said don’t speak on our behalf, let us speak for ourselves, let us speak to the Taliban ourselves, in every forum in which Afghanistan is being discussed, not just Afghan women’s rights but Afghanistan, there should be Afghan women at the table. This is the message that I have taken in every meeting I have had with the international community and with the Taliban and I think that is a message that we also should carry and this is something that we should advocate,” she said.