Open letter of protest against the exclusion of Women from Doha Conference 3

Addressed to: General Secretary of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres; President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen; High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell; President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez; Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, José Manuel Albares; Minister of Equality of Spain, Ana Redondo; Ambassador on Special Mission for the Feminist Foreign Policy of Spain, Ana María Alonso.
Madrid, 26 June 2024. The role of women in national and international conferences is crucial in determining their own destiny. Women’s participation in decision-making contributes to gender equality, ensuring that the concerns and needs of half of society are adequately reflected and taken into account Women’s participation at all levels promotes policies and programmes that protect basic rights such as education, health, the environment, and human rights. A gender perspective is essential not only to guarantee the rights of women and girls, to empower them and to eradicate gender-based violence, but it is essential for the development of humanity as a whole, for the success of future generations and for achieving lasting and sustainable peace.

The total exclusion of women from the third UN conference on Afghanistan, to be held in Doha (Qatar) on 30 June and 1 July, is a clear violation of international human rights law (1). Es contraria a los compromisos internacionales de los países con la igualdad de género y la participación plena y equitativa de las mujeres en todos los ámbitos.

As the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan has pointed out in his latest report of May 2024 (2), the Taliban regime has established a pervasive, methodical and institutionalized system of “discrimination, segregation, disregard for dignity “humanity and exclusion” motivated by a “profound rejection of the full humanity of women and girls.” This regime is imposed through terror and is based on a regulatory architecture aimed at restricting the rights and freedom of women and girls in all aspects of their lives.

Afghan women, activists, women’s organizations, and civil society organizations in defense of human rights have been demanding that action be taken against the Taliban with all possible tools, that there be justice and accountability for the crimes which are being committed in Afghanistan, and that there be express recognition of gender apartheid as a crime against humanity.

We, Afghan women living in Spain, committed to the values of equality, justice and human rights, believe that the presence and participation of women in all spheres, especially in international conferences, is non-negotiable. Real debate and realistic decision-making are not possible if these decisions are taken exclusively by men.

We strongly protest against the unfair and discriminatory exclusion of women from the Doha conference. We also find it unacceptable that women’s rights are not the core issue to be addressed at this meeting. Not only does this decision contravene the fundamental principles of gender equality and human rights, but it is also an implicit endorsement of the abuses committed by the Taliban. It is regrettable that, at a time when the world is moving towards greater participation of women in all areas, an approach that excludes half the population and does not stem from consideration of the equal dignity of women and men is adopted.

The exclusion of women from such an important conference not only silences half of global society, but also undermines the advancement of our common goals.

We call for the responsibility of international organisations in the defence of women’s rights. International organisations play a vital role in the promotion and protection of women’s rights. They have a responsibility to use their international platforms to highlight the importance of women’s participation in conferences and decision-making processes and to support these rights. They must use diplomatic and legal tools to urge governments to comply with their international commitments and to refrain from excluding women from decision-making processes. It is up to them to monitor the activities of governments and organisations, documenting and reporting violations of women’s rights. This vigilance can generate international pressure and bring about policy change.

We remain ready to collaborate and engage in dialogue to find appropriate and just solutions to increase women’s participation and active presence in international arenas.

We hope that this message receives appropriate attention and action.

Sign here and join the protest against the exclusion of Afghan women

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