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Afghanistan worst place in the world for women and children: UN

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(Last Updated On: September 4, 2020)

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Deborah Lyons, said Thursday Afghanistan remains the worst country for women and children.

“Despite significant progress in the last two decades, Afghanistan remains one of the worst places in the world to be a woman, and one of the worst to be a child,” she briefed the Security Council on the situation in Afghanistan.

She said that the level of violence on the battlefield remains deeply worrying.

“The last few weeks have seen near-record numbers of security incidents, including egregious attacks by spoilers targeting civilians involved in the peace process.”

Deborah calls on all warring parties to reduce the level of violence.

It comes as the main obstacle, the prisoner swap process between the Afghan government and the Taliban, ahead of the intra-Afghan talks has been removed.

National Security Council spokesman Javid Faisal said Thursday the prisoner release process has almost ended and peace talks can now start.

He said: “It is imperative that intra-Afghan peace talks begin as soon as possible.

“The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has received our commandos held hostage by the Taliban, after which the government released the remaining 400 convicts, except the few for which our partners have reservations. Diplomatic efforts are ongoing. We expect direct talks to start promptly,” he said.

Meanwhile, Deborah Lyons urged the two sides to consider a humanitarian ceasefire as one of the first items on the agenda of Intra- Afghan negotiations.

“For Afghanistan’s most vulnerable people, the stakes could not be higher. I urge all member states to amplify this call as the negotiations begin. And the negotiations will begin,” she noted.

“After four decades of war, the people of Afghanistan have more reason than ever to hope that this devastating conflict may come to an end,” UN envoy said.

Deborah Lyons also emphasized the need for women’s participation in the coming Intra-Afghan negotiations that could pave the way to end the long-term war in the war-weary country.

“We all know that talking will not be enough. Women’s rights are already emerging as one of the most difficult issues confronting the conflict parties as they enter negotiations, and one where any compromises could pose, will pose, a difficult dilemma for member states,” she said.

“The issue will be more central, this issue of women’s rights will be more central in the Afghan peace process than we have ever seen in any other peace negotiation in recent memory.”

She noted that it is women’s representation at the peace table that offers the best opportunity to ensure that their own rights are upheld and that their vision for elements of a peaceful Afghanistan is reflected in all aspects of the talks.

“I commend the women members of the Islamic Republic negotiating team and other peace structures for their energetic outreach and substantive preparations for intra-Afghan talks.”

“As of this moment, we are not yet aware of any women’s representation on the Taliban side, but we remain hopeful that they, too, will find a way of meaningfully including women, the other 50 percent of the population, in their negotiation team,” Lyons added.

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Peace and stability in Afghanistan is essential: Erdogan

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(Last Updated On: November 26, 2022)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday highlighted the importance of peace and stability in Afghanistan, saying it is essential in terms of threats and risks.

“Peace and stability in Afghanistan is essential in terms of common threats and risks, beyond our humanitarian duty for our Afghan brothers,” Erdogan said in a joint press conference with Pakistan’s prime minister in Ankara.

Erdogan said Turkey and Pakistan will continue to work together to “eliminate the effects of the humanitarian crisis faced by the Afghan people.”

The Turkish leader also commented on the situation in Afghanistan as he said establishing “peace and stability in Afghanistan is essential in terms of common threats and risks, beyond our humanitarian duty for our Afghan brothers.”

He said they will continue to work together to “eliminate the effects of the humanitarian crisis faced by the Afghan people.”

Erdogan also pointed to the solidarity and mutual cooperation between Turkey and Pakistan and reiterated Ankara’s support for Islamabad’s counter-terrorism efforts.

“We have always seen Pakistan’s pain as our pain, its joy as our joy and its success as our success,” he said.

For his part, Pakistani PM Shahbaz Sharif proposed extending the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), inviting Turkey to join the multi-billion-dollar project.

“China and Pakistan are great friends and we are experiencing and enjoying the benefits of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor under the Belt and Road Initiative of (Chinese) President Xi (Jinping). I would suggest let this be a cooperation between China, Pakistan, and Türkiye,” Sharif said, calling it a “wonderful joint cooperation.”

Sharif also said such cooperation among the three nations “will bring prosperity and progress in this entire region.”

“This will help the alleviation of poverty and unemployment. This will promote education and this is how we can really meet the challenges of today,” the Pakistani prime minister said.

Sharif said he will be “very happy” to talk to his “Chinese friends.”

“If we can move in this direction, I think, this would be a wonderful opportunity to really capitalise” he added.

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UN, Uzbekistan discuss Int’l Group to negotiate with IEA government

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(Last Updated On: November 26, 2022)

Deputy head of UNAMA and Uzbekistan’s foreign minister have discussed implementing an initiative to set up an International Group to negotiate with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) government.

“We discussed situation in Afghanistan, implementing initiative to set up an International Group to negotiate with Afghan government to agree algorithm for the earliest fulfilling of mutual obligations of the parties,” Uzbekistan’s Foreign Minister Vladimir Norov said on Twitter Friday.

Meanwhile, UNAMA said on Friday its deputy head Markus Potzel concluded his series of meetings with government officials in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan on additional regional support to the Afghan people.

“UNAMA will continue its work with all regional actors to assist efforts for a meaningful peace in Afghanistan,” UNAMA said on Twitter.

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UN rights agency’s remarks on floggings an insult to Islam: IEA

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(Last Updated On: November 26, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) on Friday condemned remarks by a spokesperson of the UN Human Rights Office on floggings and said the comments were an insult to Islam.

Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office, in a statement on Friday said the agency was “appalled by mass floggings in public by the de facto authorities of 14 people in Logar province on Wednesday, and calls for this abhorrent form of punishment to cease immediately.”

The statement added that corporal punishment constitutes a form of “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, which is prohibited under both the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

The statement noted that Afghanistan is a State party to both.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for IEA, reacted and said that the remarks were an “insult to Islam and violation of international principles.”

“Countries and organizations should not allow self-interested people to make irresponsible and provoking remarks on Islam and its rules on their behalf,” Mujahid said on Twitter.

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