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Afghanistan: Women, Peace & Security

Countering Gender Apartheid & Gender Persecution in Afghanistan

Since the Taliban’s seizure of power in 2021, women and girls in Afghanistan have been subject to ever more repressive limits on their rights and freedoms with more than 100 edicts specifically targeting their right to move freely, assemble publicly, access healthcare, education, or work, play sports, visit parks and salons. The situation that Afghan women and girls are facing is a serious women’s rights emergency that holds potentially dangerous precedent for the region, and indeed for women’s rights globally. Observers, activists, and legal scholars agree that the current regime in the country amounts to systematic gender persecution and gender apartheid. So our global advocacy initiative for 2024 poses an urgent call for coordinated global action on this women’s rights crisis, to bring key stakeholders around a unified movement for the codification of gender apartheid as a crime against humanity within international legal frameworks. .

Call for Coordinated Global Action for Accountability

Countering Gender Apartheid & Gender Persecution in Afghanistan:
Call for Global Action for Accountability and Codification

Date: June 19, 2024
Time: 13:00-14:00 CEST | In-Person Event
Venue: Room XXII UNOG Building - Palais des Nations Geneva
Avenue de la Paix 14 · 1202 Le Petit-Saconnex, Geneva, Switzerland 

Participants: Only for Member states and accredited organisations


Co-Hosts:

Afghanistan’s Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva
Albania’s Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva
Center for Dialogue and Progress - Geneva
Women’s Regional Network
Canada’s Feminist Forum for Afghanistan
WomanKind Worldwide 

This event will form one component of a wider advocacy campaign to promote
collaboration among actors engaged on the issue of gender apartheid. The campaign will 
map and track existing initiatives and seek to identify shared goals, messaging, resources,
and strategies related to advocacy for international accountability including through
codification and official recognition of gender apartheid. Afghan women activists working
on the issue have noted the need that rather than a structured coordination mechanism
they would like to see a loose alliance of stakeholders who share relevant information,
support one another’s advocacy and collaborate.


Although international action should not be dependent on the official recognition of gender
apartheid, recognition from UN member states and within the UN system could be a crucial
step towards codification and accountability to counter the systemic oppression that
women in Afghanistan continue to face. The side event will convene supportive UN
member states, policymakers, legal experts, and civil society, to share information and
coordinate efforts on this issue.

Proposed Speakers:

  1. Moderator: Nargis Nehan Founder, Canada’s Feminist Forum for Afghanistan 

  2. Opening Remarks: Ambassador Nasir Ahmad Andisha, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN in Geneva (5 minutes)

  3. Panelists:

    1. Richard Bennett, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan (7 minutes)

    2. Metra Mehran, Afghan Women’s Rights Activist (10 minutes)

    3. Rita Manchanda, South Asia Regional Expert and Author of WRN’s report Women Seeking Security, Asserting Agency India Afghan Refugee Community Conversations (to provide a brief on the field research findings of all 3 countries and a regional lens) (10 minutes)

  4. Q and A: 15 Minutes 

Closing Remarks and Way Forward: TBC*** (5 minutes)

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