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Time to close gender gap in Afghanistan: UNAMA

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(Last Updated On: March 7, 2020)

UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Tadamichi Yamamoto, said, “The time has come to close the gender gap in Afghanistan.”

In a press release, 5 March, Tadamichi Yamamoto said that gender equality offered solutions to some of the most intractable problems in Afghanistan, adding that in all over Afghanistan, women were worse off than men – simply because they are women.

Nonetheless, he said, “We have seen significant progress on women’s rights in Afghanistan, including formal legislation and national action plans, we continue to see powerful social and political pushback, both directly and indirectly. This situation must change for Afghan women, and for the benefit of Afghanistan as a nation.”

However, he said that women and girls in Afghanistan still contended with centuries of misogyny and the erasure of their achievements, prevented from going to school, relegated to performing menial work, ridiculed, judged on their looks, and confronted by everyday sexism, harassment, and victim-blaming.

“These are barriers to solving many of the challenges and threats that Afghanistan faces as a nation,” he added.

Yamamoto also noted that the lack of gender balance in universities and commerce in Afghanistan requires concerted and coordinated bridging solutions that are shaping Afghanistan’s future.

“Afghanistan has an opportunity to rectify the lack of women’s full representation in political decision-making. What is especially crucial in the period ahead is to focus on Afghan women’s representation and their effective participation in peace negotiations,” the statement underscored.

Following the recent US-Taliban agreement for bringing peace to Afghanistan, Yamamoto  underlined that women should not be marginalized “not only of women’s equal representation in any formal intra-Afghan peace process but also in upholding, protecting and advancing Afghan women’s human rights.”

The statement further read, “It is abundantly clear that Afghan women must be an integral part of any formal peace negotiations. As has been proven time and time again in other contexts around the globe, women’s full and meaningful participation in peace negotiations greatly increases the sustainability of peace accords.”

Yamamoto spoke out the UN’s role saying that the United Nations continues to provide expert advice and technical support to Afghan women to participate effectively in peace talks. Women’s “voices at the peace table are essential,” he said.

“The time has come to close the gender gap in Afghanistan, not just in any coming peace negotiations, but in post-peace arrangements, with real voice and agency, and in all aspects of Afghanistan’s social, economic, civic and political life,” the statement concluded.

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UN Security Council temporarily lifts travel ban on senior IEA official

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(Last Updated On: December 5, 2022)

The UN Security Council has lifted the travel ban on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) acting Minister of Information and Culture, Mullah Khairullah Khairkhah, for a period of 10 days, so he can attend an event in Russia, officials in Afghanistan stated.

The UN Security Council failed to extend a travel ban exemption on Khairkhah along with other IEA officials two months ago.

This latest temporary travel ban exemption is said to have come into effect on December 1 and will run through until December 10, allowing Khairkhah to travel to Kazan, the capital of the Russian Federation’s Republic of Tatarstan.

Khairkhah was formerly imprisoned in Guantanamo and was released in 2014 in exchange for an American soldier.

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Migration to Germany to hit 1.2 million in 2022: report

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(Last Updated On: December 5, 2022)

More people will have sought refuge in Germany in 2022 than at the height of the European migrant crisis, Welt am Sonntag newspaper reported Sunday.

The newspaper said the country is on course to see 1.2 million new arrivals this year — a 35% increase from 2015 when 890,000 migrants and refugees, mainly fleeing the Syrian war, came to the country.

This year’s tally was calculated from the more than a million Ukrainian refugees welcomed in Germany since Russia’s invasion unfolded in February and an expected 200,000 asylum seekers by the end of the year.

By the end of October, some 181,612 asylum applications were recorded, Welt am Sonntag reported, mostly from Syrian, Afghan, Turkish and Iraqi nationals.

Municipalities face resource squeeze

German municipalities are reported to have reached their limit in processing such a large number of new arrivals, sparking concern from politicians like Armin Schuster, the interior minister for the eastern state of Saxony.

“We are approaching 200,000 asylum seekers this year. In the last legislature, this number was defined as the upper limit,” Schuster told the paper. While he said his state continues to “stand up for Ukraine, no ifs or buts,” any free capacity will soon be exhausted.

German MEP Manfred Weber warned of a “dramatic winter of refuge,” referring to an expected increase in migrant and refugee arrivals during the winter months.

Some analysts have warned that hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians could flee the country as Russian forces continue to target the country’s energy infrastructure, sparking widespread power cuts during the winter cold.

“Germany is currently sleepwalking into a new migration crisis,” Weber warned, noting a similar pressure on authorities in the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria.

Last month, the EU refugee agency said asylum applications had reached a new post-2015 high.

The government said it was supporting states and municipalities with €3.5 billion ($3.69 billion) this year, with another €2.75 billion earmarked for 2023, and has provided more than 67,000 spaces for accommodation.

Schuster said Germany’s migration policy needed more than just “warm words” and called for “a noticeable braking effect on asylum access via the East Mediterranean route,” referring to how many migrants arrive in EU territory via Turkey and Greece.

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Anas Haqqani and Yaqoob Mujahid meet Afghans in UAE

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(Last Updated On: December 5, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) defense minister Mawlavi Mohammad Yaqoob Mujahid met with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, at the Al Shati Royal Palace in Abu Dhabi, on Sunday.

According to the ministry the two dignitaries discussed issues of mutual interest.

Mujahid, along with Anas Haqqani, also met with Afghans living in the UAE where he asked them to return home.

In a meeting with the Afghans, he said that he would speak with senior UAE officials about improving ties between the two countries and on resolving challenges the Afghans face.

“We will meet with the relevant officials if there is a visa problem, an issue with flights, or problems with prisoners. Even if there are problems inside Afghanistan, for example, passport problems or other problems, I will try to deal with these cases to the best of my ability without delay,” the defense minister said.

“We must remove discrimination from our minds. In the minds of the new generation, we must remember that all ethnic groups are citizens of Afghanistan and have rights in Afghanistan,” he also told Afghans at the meeting.

According to Mujahid, Afghanistan is the home of all Afghans, and that: ”Afghans should invest in their country and we should all contribute to the country’s prosperity, and development.”

Meanwhile, Anas Haqqani, a senior member of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), who is also in the UAE, told Afghans living in Dubai that the purpose of the IEA’s visit was to address their problems.

“The Islamic Emirate is working on long-term plans, ” he said, adding “with the grace and support of Allah, we are building Afghanistan.”

According to him, Afghanistan has just emerged from war and now there is security in the country.

Meanwhile, the spokesman of the Islamic Emirate said that the delegation will meet with the leadership of the UAE to discuss a range of issues.

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