UN Security Council plans meeting on Afghanistan for December 20

The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to convene on December 20 to deliberate on the assessment of Feridun Sinirlioglu and decide on the next steps regarding Afghanistan.

During this session, council members are anticipated to review proposals from the United Nations’ special coordinator, which may include the appointment of a special representative for Afghanistan. Additionally, efforts to re-establish dialogue among Afghans for the formation of an inclusive government will be on the agenda.

Simultaneously, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, and Japan’s missions at the United Nations will host another meeting on December 11 to discuss the organization’s fresh assessment of Afghanistan. The meeting, according to a schedule obtained by AMO, will involve Security Council members and three Afghan women’s rights activists.

The purpose of this parallel discussion is to emphasize strategies for ensuring women’s participation and leadership in implementing recommendations from the independent evaluation of Afghanistan. The meeting aims to provide an opportunity for council members to engage with civil society perspectives as they chart the way forward.

However, concerns have been raised by Human Rights Watch about the lack of transparency in the Security Council’s handling of the new assessment. Heather Barr, Associate Director at Human Rights Watch, criticized the situation, stating that transparency is crucial, especially given the severe crisis in women’s rights in Afghanistan.

The upcoming closed-door meeting will delve into various aspects, including the Security Council’s steps for women’s participation in governance, development, rule of law, and security, along with recommendations on engaging with the Taliban on women-related issues.

Guiding questions for the Security Council meeting include addressing Afghan women’s participation, ensuring their rights, and setting expectations for the Taliban in upholding international law regarding women and girls.

“I hope that mechanisms will be thought of and guarantees will be included in this decision so that demands and proposals can actually be implemented in the future,” remarked Shinki Crookhill, a women’s rights activist.

In a planning version of the meeting, it was emphasized that the independent assessment provides forward-looking recommendations for a comprehensive approach to address the complex challenges in Afghanistan.

The absence of protesting women in United Nations meetings was criticized by women’s rights activists Hadia Sahibzada and Nargis Sadat, who stressed the importance of women’s representation in defending rights and discussing political matters.

Feridun Sinirlioglu’s assessment, released nearly a month ago, suggested the appointment of a special representative for Afghanistan and fostering dialogue among Afghans.

The UN Security Council is expected to make decisions based on these recommendations.