On UN Day, Nepali activists draw the organization’s attention to the precarity of human rights in Afghanistan

At a demonstration in Kathmandu on Sunday, a group of Nepali activists urged the United Nations to take some immediate actions to ensure the safety of Afghani citizens.

A protest organized by Human Rights and Peace Society (HURPES). (Photo: HURPES)

Anushka Nepal

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Kathmandu: Marking the 76th United Nations’ Day, on October 24, a group of Nepali activists demonstrated at Maitighar, Kathmandu to draw the intergovernmental organization’s attention to the precarious situation of women’s rights in the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. 

The demonstration was organized by the Human Rights and Peace Society (HURPES), a non-governmental non-profit volunteer organization focusing on non-violence, peace and human rights.

Activists at the demonstration urged the United Nations to take a step towards preserving human rights and freedom of the Afghani citizens.

Since the Taliban wrested control of Afghanistan, on August 15, 2021, human rights, especially women’s rights, in the country hangs in the balance.

Although the Taliban has maintained that they will make sure the women’s rights will be protected according to their “Afghan norms and Islamic values”, the commitment has not been followed through. Many Afghani women were compelled to leave their jobs and education. Many women live in fear for their safety.

The major agenda of the demonstration, according to organizers, was not only to remind but urge the UN to take a step towards ensuring human rights prevail in Afghanistan.

“The lives of millions of Afghans will depend on how the Taliban choose to govern”

“Our main agenda today is to remind the United Nations that it is their responsibility to make sure that the human and women’s rights will not just remain on papers and lack implementation,” said Ratna Laxmi Shrestha, vice chairperson of HURPES and also a lawyer who has been actively working in the field of women’s right and their protection. 

The UN has relocated some of its staff working in the country while some others stay there to keep watch. “While some UN personnel who are not location dependent have temporarily been relocated, the majority of humanitarian personnel are staying to support the humanitarian response in line with the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence,“ Ramiz Alakbarov, United Nations Deputy-Special Representative of the Secretary General in Afghanistan said in his statement on UN staying to support aid response in  Afghanistan.

Deborah Lyons, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), described the all-male Taliban cabinet as “disappointing” during a meeting of the security council on September 9, 2021.

“The lives of millions of Afghans will depend on how the Taliban choose to govern,” she said.