• UN body cites fears over Afghan women's rights

UN body cites fears over Afghan women's rights

30 July 2013

A UN women’s rights watchdog has expressed concern for the future of women’s rights in Afghanistan as international forces prepare to withdraw from the country by the end of 2014.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women cited fears that there could be “backsliding” over rights.  It also highlighted concerns as to whether  women would be allowed to have a meaningful role in any future peace negotations.

The head of the Committee, Nicole Ameline, told reporters, "We are worried about Afghanistan because we're at a decisive moment.  If we don't manage to preserve the rights of women after having devoted so much energy, resources and support in all forms in this country, it will mark a failure by the international community."

She was speaking at a news conference in Geneva after the Committee conducted a regular review of Afghanistan’s progress on women’s rights.

The Committee noted that the Afghan government had given assurances that women would be able to take part in any peace process.  However, it  expressed concern that "women's interests and needs may be compromised in the peace negotiations due to deep rooted patriarchal attitudes".  Only nine of the 70 members of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council are female. 

SOURCES: AFP, Reuters.