UN official urges using aid to leverage women's rights in Afghanistan
Afghan girls attend a class at a school in Kandahar, Afghanistan, September 26, 2021. /CFP

Afghan girls attend a class at a school in Kandahar, Afghanistan, September 26, 2021. /CFP

A UN official on Wednesday asked the international community to use aid as leverage to promote women's rights in Afghanistan.

"We need the international community to ensure that any aid that they give to Afghanistan is also tied to robust commitments on women's rights and gender equality," said Alison Davidian, deputy country representative of UN Women in Afghanistan.

"We also need them to ensure that humanitarian aid keeps flowing and that there are commitments in place to ensure that it reaches both men and women," she told a UN Women online event held on the eve of a Security Council open debate on women, peace and security.

Davidian asked the international community to issue strong joint statements that show the "collective mass of voices" encouraging the Taliban to adhere to key women's rights and human rights principles.

Davidian asked for those who have the means to donate to women's civil society organizations that are working on the ground every day to make the lives of women and girls better in Afghanistan.

She asked people to lobby their governments to include Afghans at risk in resettlement initiatives and to be friends to them as they try and resettle into their new countries of residence.

Following the Taliban's takeover in August, the situation for women and girls in the country is very bleak, she said. "This is not just about the humanitarian response; this is about the future of Afghanistan."

Afghan women have been fighting for their rights for centuries. In 1919, Afghan women won the right to vote - even before women in the United States. Over the decades, Afghan women's advocacy has been seminal to the country moving forward in both peace and development, she noted.

"And this hasn't changed. Even today we see Afghan women out on the streets protesting in the face of incredible challenges," she said.

Afghan women will never give up on their rights and never give up on their right to live free and live equal lives. UN Women will never stop walking alongside them, said Davidian.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency

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