Talks with Taliban must involve women: UN

GENEVA - Any peace negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan must involve women, a United Nations committee on women's rights warned on Friday following talks in Geneva.
"Any agreement reached with the Taliban in Afghanistan should include a clear commitment to respect and protect women's rights", the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women said in a statement.

Fighters with Afghanistan's Taliban militia in Wardak province
Fighters with Afghanistan's Taliban militia in Wardak province
The 23-member UN experts body urged the Afghan government and its international allies "to ensure women representatives are included in peace, development dialogues and negotiations with the Taliban."
Committee members also expressed their "deep concern at the exclusion of Afghan women from the high level decision-making" at the international London conference on Afghanistan late last month.
Women's rights advocates have voiced alarm as President Hamid Karzai airs plans to mediate with the Islamist insurgents who have waged war since being forced from power in 2001.
The 1996-2001 Taliban regime barred Afghan women from all public activities, including school. They could only leave home accompanied by a male relative and were routinely beaten in public and even stoned to death for perceived breaches of Islamic law.
Although under the Afghan constitution women are equal to men, women's groups say they remain marginalised and underprivileged, subject to violence and discrimination in the name of Afghan tradition.
As they fight to see their constitutional rights enforced in daily life, some are voicing concerns that Karzai may be forced to compromise on women's rights in return for cooperation from Taliban leaders.

Saturday, February 6th 2010

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