The Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, along with a delegation, held a series of meetings this week with UN staff, NGOs and women from Afghanistan to “take stock of the situation” and discuss ways to promote and protect women’s rights in the country.
According to a statement issued by UNAMA, Mohammed was Mohammed; the Executive Director of UN-Women, Sima Bahous; and the Assistant Secretary-General of the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, Khaled Khiari, arrived in Kabul on Tuesday as part of their wider mission in the region.
In their meetings, the delegation “stressed the need to uphold human rights, especially for women and girls”. The statement noted they were encouraged by exemptions being introduced that have allowed the resumption of some humanitarian activities that had been hampered following the ban.
The delegation also met with senior Taliban officials to discuss the situation in the country, including the recent ban on women working for NGOs and the education ban on women and girls.
After a global outcry and the temporary suspension of operations by a number of NGOs in recent weeks, at least two have resumed activities after getting assurances from the Taliban that their female employees can return to work.
According to UNAMA’s statement, the “delegation also commenced engagement with the de facto authorities on this matter and the longer-term perspectives for Afghanistan.”
On Wednesday, the delegation met with the Taliban’s deputy prime minister Mawlavi Abdul Salam Hanafi where Amina Mohammed shared her concern about the recent decrees issued against women.
She said in the meeting that women from Afghanistan, who are living abroad, have told her that given the opportunity to work and partake in activities in the country, they would consider returning home, Bakhtar News reported.
In addition, Mohammed reportedly said there is a need for women’s work and activity in many sectors, so the problems caused should be addressed through dialogue.
“We want to increase aid to Afghanistan and make this country an active member of the international community,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the United Nations Women’s Division, Sima Bahous, said that aid to Afghanistan is related to the activities and work opportunities of women in Afghanistan.
They have to find ways to work in the light of Afghan values and culture, she said.
She added that currently 11.6 million Afghans are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
Hanafi meanwhile said in the meeting that the UN has not cooperated with Taliban in terms of handing over the seat of the permanent representative to Afghanistan at the UN.
He said there have been positive achievements on the part of the Taliban, including security and called on the UN to not politicized the humanitarian situation.