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Global Leaders Urge UN to Include Afghan Women in Upcoming Doha Meeting with Afghan Officials, Taliban

BELLAGIO, ITALY | June 25, 2024 ― Global leaders gathered at The Rockefeller Foundation’s  Bellagio Center in Italy and issued an urgent letter to the UN Secretary-General expressing outrage that Afghan women are excluded from the upcoming UN-convened meeting of Special Envoys and the UN Special Representative on Afghanistan to take place next week in Doha, Qatar.

Signatories include:

  • Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu, President of the Republic of Kosovo
  • Hillary Clinton, 67th United States Secretary of State
  • Former Presidents and Prime Ministers of Australia, Finland, Lithuania, New Zealand

The letter states:

“As the international community engages with the Taliban, Afghan women must be actively included and central in discussions. Their exclusion is inconsistent with the UN Charter, UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, and nine subsequent, related resolutions, and conventions including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Furthermore, it contradicts the international community’s stance on Afghan women’s rights, and undermines the credibility and effectiveness of the Doha gathering.

We agree that it is urgent to alleviate the suffering of the Afghan people. We support efforts by the UN and other international organizations to distribute food and other necessities. That said, the status and rights of women are fundamentally relevant to all discussions. We must not open a pathway for the Taliban to gain broader legitimacy, including for its oppressive treatment of women. 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.”

The letter was signed by members of the Global Women Leaders Network convened by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and The Rockefeller Foundation:

Shaharzad Akbar, Executive Director of Rawadari and Former Chairperson, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission
Helen Clark, Former Prime Minister, New Zealand
Hillary Clinton, 67th United States Secretary of State
Patricia Espinosa, Former Executive Secretary, UNFCCC and Former Foreign Minister of Mexico
María Fernanda Espinosa, Former President of the United Nations General Assembly
Julia Gillard, Former Prime Minister, Australia
Dalia Grybauskaité, Former President, Lithuania 
Carla Koppell, Vice Dean, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service
Sanna Marin, Former Prime Minister, Finland 
Monica McWilliams, Former Member of the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly
Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu, President, the Republic of Kosovo
Melanne Verveer, Executive Director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security

About Global Women Leaders Network

The Global Women Leaders Network includes former and current heads of state, ministers, and high-level government and private sector representatives. Together, they form a united force to advance gender equality and address the world’s most pressing challenges. The Network was first convened in 2022 by The Rockefeller Foundation and Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) and is chaired by Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton and Ambassador Melanne Verveer.

Sarah Rutherford