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Afghan women’s rights tied to aid, UN official

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KABUL: A UN official on Wednesday said that continued international aid to Afghanistan will be essential to be used as leverage in promoting women’s rights.

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

“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.

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