Doha Forum: women’s rights in Afghanistan and Gaza war on the agenda

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Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani Emir of Qatar receives Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates (not pictured), prior to the 44th session of the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in Doha, Qatar, December 5, 2023. Mohamed Al Hammadi/UAE Presidential Court/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY

The 21st international meeting of the Doha Forum entitled “Building a Common Future” was held in Qatar hosting Afghan activists and Arab leaders.

In this meeting, Afghan civil activists discussed the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, especially women and girls under the rule of the Taliban.

This two-day forum hosted meetings and sessions aimed at exchanging views on important regional issues that contribute to building a common future in the Middle East.

World leaders, politicians, and civil society activists discussed topics revolving around issues of international relations and security, economic policy and development, sustainability and cyber security, and data privacy in four round tables.

Rangina Hamidi, the former Minister of Education in Afghanistan, and Rina Amiri, the US special representative for Afghan women’s affairs, were present and emphasized the importance of creating and rebuilding an educational environment for women and girls in Afghanistan.

Richard Bennett, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Afghanistan, also spoke about the human rights situation in Afghanistan.

The Taliban government has not reacted to this meeting so far, but it has formerly expressed the desire to receive invitations to participate in conferences about Afghanistan.

During more than two years of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, girls have been banned from studying above the sixth grade and attending university, among other restrictions imposed on them.

However, the Taliban government claims that the rights of women in Afghanistan are protected within the framework of Islamic Sharia. A claim that is apparently unacceptable to Afghan women, the international community, human rights organisations, and most Islamic countries.

Examining the situation of the Palestinians was another agenda in this meeting which was negotiated and addressed by Arab leaders.

The Prime Minister of Qatar said on December 10, that the efforts to reach a new ceasefire in Gaza continue, despite the continued Israeli bombardment.

At the Doha meeting, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani stated that Qatar and its partners will continue to mediate to facilitate peace talks and will not stop efforts.

Qatar was one of the key mediators in the negotiations that led to a seven-day ceasefire between Israel and the Hamas group, a ceasefire in which several Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners were exchanged, and the opportunity to transfer humanitarian aid to Gaza was also provided.

Earlier, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also said in this meeting that the UN Security Council is paralyzed due to “divisions in geostrategy” or strategy influenced by politics in the region.

Guterres, two days after the United States vetoed a draft ceasefire in Gaza, said he would reiterate his demand for “a humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza.At the Doha meeting, Mohammad Ashtiyeh, the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, called the United States responsible for the continued attacks on Gaza due to the veto of the ceasefire draft.

Ayman Safadi, Jordan’s foreign minister, also accused Israel of pushing the region into what he called a “sea of death and destruction.”

The Doha meeting concluded after two days of intensive talks between foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states. Officials from the United States and other Western countries were not present at this meeting.

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