The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has voiced concerns that the rights of women in Afghanistan may be compromised in the interest of peace negotiations. 

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The Afghan government has pledged that women’s rights are non-negotiable in the peace negotiations with the Taliban. However, the committee is concerned that without international support women’s rights could be rolled back in Taliban sympathetic areas or even by the government in order to reach a peace deal.

At a news briefing, the chair of the committee, Nicole Ameline, told reporters We have had official assurances … I would like to consider a government’s word as credible. But she suggesting that women’s rights may be compromised. We are worried about Afghanistan because we’re at a decisive moment. If we don’t manage to preserve the rights of women after having devoted so much energy, resources and support in all forms in this country, it will mark a failure by the international community, she said.

The committee cited high prevalence of domestic violence, forced marriages, and an increased number of Taliban attacks on girls’ schools. Ameline explained, Afghanistan displays a concentration of forms of violence which for the most part are linked to patriarchal and ancestral systems, and which are exacerbated when they occur in zones which are not necessarily under direct state control.

Media Resources: Sources: AFP 7/29/2013; Reuters 7/29/2013; Feminist Newswire 6/20/2013