Italian PM Draghi urges G20 to do ‘all it can’ on Afghan women’s rights

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi urged the G20 on Thursday to protect women's rights in Afghanistan, warning they "risk becoming once again second-class citizens" under Taliban rule.

Italian PM Draghi urges G20 to do 'all it can' on Afghan women's rights
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

“We must not delude ourselves: Afghan girls and women are on the brink of losing freedom and dignity and of returning to the dismal conditions in which they found themselves two decades ago,” Draghi said as Italy, which holds the rotating G20 presidency, hosted a conference on women’s empowerment.

In a statement, Draghi said women in Afghanistan “risk becoming once again second-class citizens, who face violence and are discriminated against systematically just because of their gender”.

READ ALSO: ‘No time to lose’: How is Italy responding to the Afghan refugee crisis?

He added: “The G20 must do all it can to ensure that Afghan women preserve their fundamental freedoms and basic rights, especially the right to education. Progress made over the past 20 years must be preserved.”

The takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban has sparked fears of a return to the Islamic fundamentalist group’s brutal regime of the 1990s that saw women confined to their homes and punishments including stoning to death for those accused of adultery.

“We cannot look away, and we do not want to,” Italian Equalities Minister Elena Bonetti told Thursday’s G20 conference in Santa Margherita Ligure, near Genoa.

The gathering was hailed by Italy as the first of its kind dedicated exclusively to women’s empowerment, drawing equality ministers and representatives from business, NGOs, academia and civil society from around the world.

It is focused on overcoming inequalities that in many cases have been made starker during the coronavirus pandemic, emphasising the importance of education, training, participation in the workplace and work-life balance.

Meanwhile Italy continues to airlift Italian citizens and Afghans who have worked for the Italian government out of Kabul.

Shots were fired at an Italian transport plane carrying Afghan former NATO workers as it left Kabul airport on Thursday, Italian military sources told news agency Ansa. There was no damage to the aircraft.

Emergency flights organised by western nations to airlift out Afghans at risk of Taliban reprisals due to their work for foreign governments are due to end next Tuesday, August 31st.

Member comments

  1. Total crickets about the coming disaster for Afghan women and girls from the America left. Hypocrisy at its worst.

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Italy’s Meloni in Libya to discuss energy and migration

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni arrived on Saturday in the Libyan capital Tripoli for talks on energy as well as the thorny issue of migration, Libyan state media said.

Italy's Meloni in Libya to discuss energy and migration

Meloni’s trip – her second to a North African country this week – is the first by a European leader to war-battered Libya since her predecessor Mario Draghi’s visit in April 2021.

State television said the Italian premier was received by Abdelhamid Dbeibah, who heads the Tripoli-based, UN brokered Government of National Unity which is contested by a rival administration in the east.

Libya and its former colonial power Italy are key trade partners, particularly in energy, where Italian giant Eni plays a major role in tapping into Africa’s largest known oil reserves.

Meloni was accompanied by Eni chief Claudio Descalzi, who is expected to sign a deal with Libya’s National Oil Company to develop two Libyan offshore gas fields.

Eni will invest $8 million in the two fields, NOC chief Farhat Bengdara said in televised remarks this week, adding they are expected to produce 850 million cubic metres of gas.

Meloni visited Algeria on Monday seeking supply deals from Africa’s top gas exporter to help reduce reliance on Russia after it invaded Ukraine last year.

During her trip to Libya, she is also expected to discuss the issue of migration amid rising numbers of irregular migrants from Libya to Italy.

Libya has been wracked by years of conflict and division since a NATO-backed revolt toppled dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

The country is a conduit for thousands of people each year fleeing conflict and poverty across Africa, seeking refuge across the Mediterranean in Europe.

Meloni’s far-right government took office in October, vowing to stop migrant landings in Italy, which reached more than 105,000 in 2022.

The central Mediterranean route is considered the world’s most treacherous, according to the International Organization for Migration, which estimated that 1,377 migrants had disappeared on that route last year.