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Afghan women’s grassroots voices absent in UN-led talks, say women’s Rights Advocates

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Fidel Rahmati
Fidel Rahmati
Fidai Rahmati is the editor and content writer for Khaama Press. You may follow him at Twitter @FidelRahmati

Afghan women’s rights advocates have voiced their apprehensions regarding the selection process of civil society representatives and activists to participate in the UN-led meeting in Doha concerning Afghanistan.

Husna Jalil, Afghan women’s rights advocate expressed her concerns on her social media platform X, on Friday, February 16th saying, “ It is concerning to note the absence of genuine representation of grassroots Afghan women in UN-led discussions regarding Afghanistan. “

Husna Jalil added that “despite the necessity of amplifying their voices, the platform primarily features a select group of elite Afghan women.”

She criticized the top-down approach adopted in these meetings, which undermines their legitimacy. “Over the past two and a half years, the top-bottom approach has inadvertently marginalized the voices of grassroots women, thereby undermining the legitimacy of these crucial discussions,” she said.

She urged the UN to prioritize the interests of the people by selecting representatives who reflect grassroots perspectives.

“The UN, as a symbol of justice and human rights, holds the responsibility to prioritize the interests of the Afghan people. This can be achieved by ensuring the inclusion of diverse voices from Afghanistan, particularly those representing grassroots perspectives, she added.

She urged the UN, “UN must reevaluate its strategy. They must work towards bringing new voices to the forefront while excluding individuals who have previously betrayed public trust from participating in the negotiations.”

Inclusivity and representation are fundamental principles that must guide UN-led discussions on Afghanistan. Ignoring the voices of grassroots women not only perpetuates marginalization but also hampers the prospects for sustainable peace and development in the region.

The current approach risks perpetuating the existing power dynamics and fails to address the diverse needs and aspirations of Afghan women at the grassroots level.

It is time for the UN and relevant stakeholders to prioritize inclusivity and genuine representation in their efforts to facilitate peace and stability in Afghanistan. This necessitates amplifying the voices of grassroots women and ensuring their meaningful participation in all stages of the negotiation process.

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