Afghans urge UN to appoint special envoy focused on women’s rights

A number of Afghans have said that based on Feridun Sinirlioglu’s assessment, the United Nations should appoint a special envoy for Afghanistan who is dedicated to addressing women’s and girls’ rights issues in the country.

Women and girls in Afghanistan have increasingly found themselves stripped of basic rights, including access to work and education, under the Taliban’s rule. They are now looking to the United Nations Special Envoy to not only advocate for their political participation but also to provide an accurate account of the country’s on-the-ground realities to the global organization.

This call for action aligns with a recent United Nations Security Council resolution, which, by a majority vote, identified the appointment of a special envoy for Afghanistan as a critical matter. The envoy is anticipated to be selected in an upcoming UN meeting attended by special representatives from various countries.

Many Afghan citizens insist on the need for an envoy who will earnestly strive to uphold women’s rights in Afghanistan and impartially report on human rights abuses by the Taliban.

“Our hope is that the special envoy will truly represent Afghanistan’s marginalized women and negotiate with the Taliban to lift restrictions, ensuring women’s rights,” said Beheshta, a resident of Farah.

Hadia, a student, expressed her frustration, “We, the women and girls of Afghanistan, are facing numerous problems and are denied our basic rights. Our education and employment need serious attention.”

Yalda, another student, added, “The UN’s special envoy should be someone genuinely committed to advancing women’s development.”

Women activists are also calling for the UN to recognize the severity of gender apartheid in Afghanistan. Tarannum Saidi, a women’s rights activist, emphasized the need for a representative who understands human rights and can convey the daily struggles of Afghan women and girls to the UN Security Council and the United Nations in a factual and resonant manner.

To date, the United Nations and special representatives from various countries have not finalized their choice for the special envoy. The selected individual will be responsible for implementing Feridun Sinirlioglu’s recommendations, fostering dialogue among Afghans, and facilitating Afghanistan’s integration into the international community.