At the annual UN meeting this week, several international leaders pledged to advocate for the rights of Afghan women and girls, but it was unclear how they would do so
As countries and organisations begin to interact with the hardline Islamist group, Yousafzai, 24, expressed concern that they will act the same way they did when they were in power 20 years ago, despite a significant rise in career and education options for Afghan women since then. “We cannot make concessions on the protection of women’s rights and human dignity,” Yousafzai said on the fringes of the United Nations General Assembly during a discussion on girls’ education in Afghanistan.
“Now is the time to honour that commitment and ensure that Afghan women’s rights are respected. The right to education is one of those important rights “Yousafzai, who joined the panel via video, agreed. At the annual United Nations meeting this week, several international leaders pledged to advocate for the rights of Afghan women and girls, but it was unclear how they would do so. Women’s rights concerns have risen in Afghanistan since the Taliban retook authority in August, 20 years after they were pushed from power by a US-led assault in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. The Taliban claim to have evolved during their tenure from 1996 to 2001, when they also prohibited women from leaving the house without a male relative. When the Taliban announced last week that they would open schools for high school-aged boys but not girls, it raised doubts about how much they would protect women’s rights.
According to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the Taliban’s desire for international recognition is the only global power they have to advocate for inclusive governance and respect for human rights in Afghanistan, particularly for women. EU Council President Charles Michel and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez were among those who spoke at the United Nations about the fate of Afghan women and children.