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UN urged not to engage with Taliban unconditionally

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UN urged not to engage with Taliban unconditionally

Imran Gabol
June 29, 2024

LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called on the United Nations Security Council and its member states to reconsider their decision to engage with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

This plea comes ahead of the third UN-convened meeting of Special Envoys and Special Representatives on Afghanistan (Doha III) on June 30 in Doha, Qatar.

In a letter addressed to the Security Council Secretariat Branch, HRCP co-chairperson Munizae Jahangir highlighted the escalating human rights violations in Afghanistan under the Taliban rule with a particular focus on the severe oppression of women and religious minorities.

The letter emphasized that engagement with the Taliban regime should be conditional to their commitment to end gender apartheid and protect citizens’ fundamental human rights.

The HRCP’s concerns extend beyond Afghanistan’s borders, highlighting a disturbing rise in militancy and religious extremism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa since the fall of Kabul in August 2021. This surge in violence is attributed to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which is closely associated with and influenced by the Afghan Taliban regime.

“HRCP has observed with increasing alarm a rapid escalation in militancy and religious extremism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“The Afghan Taliban’s policy of institutionalised discrimination and violence against women in Afghanistan has emboldened the TTP and hardline clerics in Pakistan, leading to constant and egregious violations of women’s rights,” the letter states.

It included details of numerous incidents of violence and discrimination against women in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including attacks on girl schools, bans on women visiting markets and public spaces and decrees prohibiting women from participating in national elections. One particularly harrowing case involved the killing of a young girl in Mansehra by a local Jirga for allegedly bringing ‘dishonor’ to her family.

The commission also noted the resurgence of violence in the Swat region, which had previously experienced a deadly TTP insurgency from 2007 to 2009. Since the TTP resurfaced in Swat in 2022, there have been increasing incidents of violence against women and girls, including a school van attack that echoed the 2012 attack on Malala Yousafzai.

The letter stressed the need for the international community to support democratic elements in Afghanistan, warning that the consequences of an undemocratic regime in Afghanistan could further destabilise Pakistan.

The HRCP joins other rights organizations in urging the international community to demand that the Afghan Taliban regime demonstrate its commitment to fundamental rights for women and religious minorities.

The letter called for the establishment of a stable, inclusive, and representative democracy in Afghanistan as the prerequisite for any engagement with the Taliban regime.

Published in Dawn, June 29th, 2024
 

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