Highlights from the 56th session of the Human Rights Council

GIWPS joined this year’s Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland to call for the codification of gender apartheid as a crime against humanity, in solidarity with Afghan and Iranian women. We also advocated for the inclusion of Afghan women in all policy dialogues related to Afghanistan, including the upcoming UN-led Doha meeting at the end of this month. 

Highlights from the Human Rights Council

GIWPS Policy Officer Lina Tori Jan gave remarks at the Human Rights Council during an Enhanced Interactive Dialogue session following remarks from Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan Richard Bennett. She called for avenues of accountability such as the International Criminal Court, International Court of Justice, and the codification of gender apartheid to be used to hold the Taliban accountable for their crimes under international law. She further advocated for the inclusion of Afghan members of civil society, minorities, and women at the upcoming UN-led meeting in Doha with international envoys on Afghanistan and the Taliban.

 “Our world faces unprecedented global challenges. More than ever, we need leadership grounded in shared values of empathy and human dignity,” she said. “It seems too hard to show this type of leadership. It seems too hard to take focused action amid a sea of ever-changing challenges. But it is harder to be a woman in Afghanistan.” 

GIWPS also co-hosted a side event on June 19, “Countering Gender Apartheid & Gender Persecution in Afghanistan: Call for Global Action for Accountability and Codification,” to draw attention to the draconian violations of Afghan women’s fundamental rights and freedoms under Taliban rule. The event brought UN member states, policymakers, legal experts, and civil society together to create an organized movement to codify gender apartheid as a crime against humanity within international legal frameworks. The event was co-hosted by Afghanistan’s Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, Albania’s Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, Center for Dialogue and Progress – Geneva, Women’s Regional Network, Canada’s Feminist Forum for Afghanistan, WomanKind Worldwide, and Atlantic Council Strategic Litigation Project. 

GIWPS will co-host another side event on June 27 with The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, the World Organisation Against Torture, the International Service for Human Rights, the Afghanistan Democracy and Development Organisation, Human Rights Defenders Plus, and Shahmama about the report “Shattering Women’s Rights, Shattering Women’s Lives,” from the British parliament’s ad-hoc inquiry into the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan and Iran. Speakers will focus on the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan and Iran and discuss the different approaches that can and must be taken to help women and girls in these countries, including through the recommendations of the Inquiry and avenues for accountability and justice.

Advocating with Afghan Women to Inform Afghan Policy

GIWPS is urgently advocating for the inclusion of Afghan women at the upcoming UN-convened meeting of Special Envoys and the UN Special Representative on Afghanistan to take place next week in Doha, Qatar. 

Members of the Global Women Leaders Network–convened by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and The Rockefeller Foundation–issued an urgent letter to the UN Secretary-General expressing outrage that Afghan women are being excluded from the session. 

“As the international community engages with the Taliban, Afghan women must be actively included and central in discussion.”

“Allowing the Taliban to dictate the terms of the Doha dialogue legitimizes their draconian abuses, which amount to gender apartheid.”

“This is a decisive moment for the UN and the international community to demonstrate unwavering commitment to Afghan women and girls by insisting that Afghan women are at the table.”

Signatories of the letter include President of the Republic of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu; Former Presidents and Prime Ministers of Australia, Finland, Lithuania, New Zealand; and Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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