Women’s groups call for UN peacekeeping force in Afghanistan – Times of India

UNITED NATIONS: Women’s rights supporters and religion leaders are calling for a United Nations peacekeeping force for Afghanistan to guard laborious-received positive factors for girls over the past twenty years as American and NATO forces full their pullout from the conflict-torn nation and a Taliban offensive positive factors management over extra territory.
Under the Taliban, girls weren’t allowed to go to high school, work exterior the house or depart their home and not using a male escort. And although they nonetheless face many challenges in the nation’s male-dominated society, Afghan girls have more and more stepped into highly effective positions in quite a few fields _ and plenty of concern the departure of worldwide troops and a Taliban takeover might take away their positive factors.
In a May 14 letter obtained by The Associated Press, 140 civil society and religion leaders from the US, Afghanistan and different nations “devoted to the schooling and rights of girls in Afghanistan” requested US President Joe Biden to call for a UN peacekeeping force “to make sure that the price of US army withdrawal from Afghanistan is just not paid for in the lives of schoolgirls.”
The letter additionally requested the US to extend humanitarian and growth help to Afghanistan “as an important security strategy” to strengthen women and girls and religious minorities like the Hazaras. Three bombings at a high school in a Hazara neighborhood in Kabul on May 8 killed nearly 100 people, all of them Hazara and most of them young girls just leaving class.
The signatories blamed the Trump administration for failing to honor a UN Security Council resolution adopted in 2000 demanding equal participation for women in activities promoting global peace “by refusing to insist that girls have been half of the peace talks” with the Taliban.
Sakena Yacoobi, the founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning which runs faculties throughout 16 provinces, is quoted in the letter as saying: “For 20 years the West told the women of Afghanistan they are free. Free to learn, to grow, to be a human being independent of men’s expectations of who they are.”
“What the Taliban did in the Nineteen Nineties was unhealthy sufficient,” she mentioned. “What will they do now, with a technology of girls taught to anticipate freedom? It can be one of the best crimes in opposition to humanity in historical past. Help us save them. Please. Help us save who we will.”
Among the signatories of the letter have been Yacoobi; feminist activist and author Gloria Steinem; former UN deputy secretary-common Mark Malloch Brown who now heads the Open Society Institute; Filmmaker and philanthropist Abigail Disney; former UNICEF government director Carol Bellamy; Betty Reardon, the International Institute on Peace Education’s founding director emeritus; The Rev. Dr. Chloe Breyer, government director of The Interfaith Center of New York; Masuda Sultan, co-founder of Women for Afghan Women; and Nasir Ahmad Kayhan, UNESCO program supervisor in Afghanistan.
In April the Taliban promised that girls “can serve their society in the education, business, health and social fields while maintaining correct Islamic hijab.” It promised girls would have the right to choose their own husbands, but offered few other details and didn’t guarantee women could participate in politics or have the freedom to move unaccompanied by a male relative.
Deborah Lyons, the UN special envoy for Afghanistan, told the Security Council on June 22 that “preserving the rights of girls stays a paramount concern and should not be used as a bargaining chip on the negotiating desk.”
In a follow-up letter on July 12 to US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a wider international group expressed deep concern “for the lives and effectively-being of the individuals of Afghanistan, particularly girls and women now underneath nice menace” and referred to as for a UN peacekeeping mission to deploy to Afghanistan “as quickly as virtually doable.”
The signatories mentioned they’re satisfied the 2000 Security Council decision obliges UN member states “to protect women in such circumstances.”
The United Nations has a political mission in Afghanistan. A UN peacekeeping mission would have to be approved by the Security Council, where the five permanent members — the US, Russia, China, Britain, and France — have veto power.
The letter to the US ambassador said similar messages were being sent to other UN ambassadors from citizens in their countries asking for a peacekeeping operation. It asked Thomas-Greenfield to “take action toward the initiation of a peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan.”
A US mission spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on the call for a UN peacekeeping force, instead stressing on Thursday that the Biden administration will continue to support Afghan forces and the US “diplomatic, humanitarian and financial engagement in the area.”
“We are putting our full weight behind diplomatic efforts to reach a peace agreement between the Taliban and the Afghan government,” said the spokesperson, who could not be named, adding the US remains the largest aid donor to Afghanistan and continues to support the UN political mission known as UNAMA.

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