Taliban women
Victor J. Blue/The New York Times

NGOs call on António Guterre to prioritise human rights of women and girls in Afghanistan

A group of prominent international human rights organizations have written a letter to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, calling on him to prioritise the human rights of women and girls in Afghanistan in the international community’s response to the evolving situation in the country.

The letter comes as the UN prepares to convene a meeting of Special Envoys on Afghanistan in Doha, Qatar, on May 1-2. The letter calls on Guterres to use his influence to ensure that diverse women leaders, human rights defenders, and other civil society representatives are able to fully and meaningfully participate in all meetings to discuss the future of Afghanistan hosted, supported, or attended by the UN.

The letter, which was signed by 12 organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, expressed concern about the “systematic violation” of women’s rights in Afghanistan since the Taliban took control of the country in August 2021.

The group also urges the UN to continue to call for all restrictions violating the rights of women by the Taliban to be immediately and unconditionally reversed.

“Failure by the international community to uphold its own international obligations to protect human rights and gender equality will not only have direct and devastating consequences for Afghan women, but will set a dangerous precedent for how women’s rights are addressed in other conflicts and crises across the world,” the letter says.