Geneva Conference on Afghanistan failure: Allowing language barrier

General view during a plenary meeting of the United Nations Conference in Geneva. 2017. Photo by Fabrice Cofrini/AFP/Getty Images.

An international conference is being held by the Afghan government and the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland from November 27 to 28. It is a meeting that the Ghani government has been preparing for months and hoping to show the progress made since the last Geneva Conference on Afghanistan. However, there is a self-implemented language barrier for the gathering meant to help Afghans.

Even with so many planning efforts by the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan and the Afghan government, the Geneva Conference is set to have already failed on one very important part of dialogues for development: language inclusion.

“No interpretation will be available in any other language” but will be translated into the six official UN languages – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.

There will be no translation into either of Afghanistan’s two official languages, Dari and Pashto, according to UN logistics document for the conference released to the media.

The language barrier being set by the Geneva Convention has forced the Afghan government to send to Geneva Afghan officials and representatives who speak English.

Dari and Pashto speakers would not be able to immediately benefit from the presentations on inclusion of women, economic development, migration, and food insecurity in times of drought because the languages Afghans do understand is being excluded from the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan all together.

“This is problematic, as it excludes activists from the provinces where the operational languages are Dari and Pashto” said the Afghanistan Analysts Network, an independent nonprofit research organization.

This week’s conference is very important to the Afghan people because the results made in Afghanistan against the $15.2 billion committed by the international community in 2016 will be discussed.


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