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UN responds to a media outlet report on a controversial human rights figure

The UN Exports, on Friday, responded to the ‘Afghanistan International’ media outlet report on a controversial Human Rights Figure, Madina Mahboobi’s participation in a June Meeting at the UN Headquarters in Geneva.

UN experts today voiced their concern at disinformation by a media outlet referring to the “Afghanistan International” media outlet concerning a Human Rights Council event about women’s and girls’ rights in Afghanistan in June.

“We are dismayed that a media outlet named Afghanistan International has chosen to misuse an essential discussion on Afghan women’s and girls’ rights at the Human Rights Council in June to launch a smear campaign against an invited Afghan woman speaker and a UN staff member, UN said in a statement.

The statement also said, “Such events should be a safe space for expressing a broad range of views. While criticism of speakers for positions they take on human rights issues is acceptable, all participants should be free from intimidation, abuse, threats, or other forms of retaliation. Personalized attacks, intrusions of privacy, and the spreading of gendered disinformation can have severe consequences for the safety and security of affected individuals and gravely damage their reputations.”

The statement followed International Afghanistan Media’s report on Madina Mahboobi’s participation in a meeting at the UN Headquarters in Geneva on June 19.

Her attendance at the UN’s human rights assembly on June 19 has drawn attention and sparked rumours about her relationship with Naveed Ahmad, a member of the UN staff. Despite Mahboobi’s lack of expertise in human rights, it is speculated that her relationship with Ahmad was crucial in her invitation to the meeting, Afghanistan International reported.

Mahboobi held a prominent position at the meeting that senior human rights officials often hold. Mahboobi gave an intriguing statement while wearing a formal uniform and a headscarf in which she urged the international community to engage with the Taliban.

According to investigations, Mahboobi has no expertise in human rights. In 2019, she served as the director of the minister’s office for the Ministry of Urban Development, which is part of her professional career. Mahboobi, along with several other women, had come under fire for their comments in support of speaking with the Taliban and for what has been interpreted as an endorsement of the group’s restrictions on women when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August 2021.

The Invitation Madina Mahboobi received for the meeting on an international stage was faced with massive condemnation by Afghan women’s rights activists, which raised concerns about the potential intrusion of Taliban lobbyists into international organizations, including the UN human rights meeting.

Meanwhile, several social media activists have chosen different perspectives, as Unity and Solidarity of Afghanistan Women (USAW) said they are negotiating with them instead of sanctions. Madina Mahboobi, Siraj, and Diwa love them to come and live with their families under their rule. However, you people cannot recognize the Taliban on behalf of Afghanistan women, USAW said.

#USAW :the Taliban should be sanctioned and not negotiated with them,Madina Mahbobi Siraj Diwa Patang …when love the Taliban come and live with their families under the rule of Taliban but they can’t want recognize Taliban on behalf of the AF.women Taliban are a criminal group.

— Dr Zahra Haqparast (@ZahraHaqparast) June 20, 2023

M Rafi Hottak is another Afghan who criticized the UN stands and Mahbooba’s statement: “She called the Taliban a de-facto government and asked the international community to accept their demands, no matter what. This is deeply troubling, as it legitimizes a terrorist group and sets a dangerous precedent.”

I am deeply disturbed by the recent speech of Madina Mahbobi who called Taliban a de-facto government.

She called the Taliban a de-facto government and asked the international community to accept their demands, no matter what they are. This is deeply troubling, as it legitimizes…

— M Rafi Hottak (@MHottak) June 19, 2023

Khalid Amiri also said, “recent speech by Madina Mahbobi calling Taliban a de-facto government & urging for engagement is alarming.”

Recent speech by Madina Mahbobi calling Taliban a de-facto government & urging for engagement is deeply disturbing. By accepting their demands regardless of consequences, We legitimize a terrorist group & endanger lives. International community, let's reject this stance & hold…

— Khalid Amiri (@KhalidAmiri01) June 21, 2023

On the other hand, some social media critics condemned AFG International’s report on Madian and said in favour of the UN: the massive scandal of Afghanistan International; UN experts are concerned and disappointed about the spread of disinformation by the Media’ Afghanistan International.’

ما از اینکه رسانه ای به نام افغانستان اینترنشنال تصمیم گرفته است از یک بحث مهم در مورد حقوق زنان و دختران افغان در شورای حقوق بشر در ماه ژوئن سوء استفاده کند و یک کمپین توهین آمیز علیه یک سخنران زن دعوت شده افغان و یکی از کارمندان سازمان ملل را راه اندازی کند، ناامیدیم. #سازمان

— EzatGhafooRi💙«خبرنگار آزاد» (@GhafooriEzat) July 28, 2023