Closed-door UNSC meeting addresses Afghan women’s concerns on Sinirlioglu’s report

In a closed-door meeting held on Monday, December 11, the United Nations Security Council, chaired by Switzerland and supported by Japan and the United Arab Emirates, convened under the title “Women’s Perspective on Afghanistan.”

The meeting aimed to discuss and address concerns raised by women activists regarding Feridun Sinirlioglu’s assessment report about Afghanistan.

Among the notable attendees were women’s rights activists Fawzia Koofi, Asila Wardak, and Yalda Royan, who emphasized the importance of protecting women and ensuring their equal participation in all political processes in Afghanistan.

Koofi, a former representative of Badakhshan in Afghanistan’s parliament and a prominent women’s rights advocate, stressed the need for the inclusive involvement of all parties in Afghanistan’s political landscape.

During the closed-door session, Asila Wardak said, she highlighted key demands, including the national discourse on protecting Afghan women, the Taliban’s commitment to releasing prisoners, and efforts to strengthen the women’s economy.

Yalda Royan, another women’s rights activist, asserted that any international interaction with the Taliban should be contingent on specific conditions, and United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) must carry out its mission impartially. She expressed the unacceptability of decisions made without the inclusion of Afghan women.

Looking ahead, Koofi mentioned that on December 20 of this year, the United Nations Security Council is set to decide on Feridun Sinirlioglu’s report and proposals, potentially passing a resolution and establishing a contact group.

However, criticism arose from Heather Barr, Assistant Director at Human Rights Watch, voiced concerns about holding closed-door meetings. She emphasized the importance of transparent discussions accessible to all Afghans, particularly women, to foster trust and ensure their voices are heard.

Some women activists suggested that the United Nations should broaden its scope by inviting women currently living in Afghanistan and facing Taliban restrictions.

As the United Nations prepares for its meeting on Afghanistan on December 20, the outcome remains uncertain, and the decisions made by the Security Council will be closely watched.