The Latest: Elders leader tells UN council to protect rights

The Latest: Elders leader tells UN council to protect rights


UNITED NATIONS — Former Irish president Mary Robinson, who heads the group of prominent former leaders founded by Nelson Mandela, called on China and Russia especially to tell the Taliban that participation of women in Afghan society and the education of girls are “non-negotiable and must be respected.”

Robinson recalled visiting Afghanistan in March 2002 as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and being with the then minister of women’s affairs and other Afghan women who had been active before the Taliban ruled from 1996-2001 when they drafted a charter of women’s rights.

Now chair of The Elders, Robinson told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday this was “an important reminder that women’s rights are not Western rights — they are fundamental human rights that these Afghan women had reclaimed in accordance with their cultural values.”

Over the past nearly 20 years, she said, “hard-won gains in gender equality and women’s rights have been secured through constitutional, legislative and policy changes.”

“We cannot allow the women and girls of Afghanistan to be deprived of these rights, including the right to leave the country,” Robinson said.



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UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations is making an...

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