US Senators on Wednesday urged the United Nations to impose ban on international travel of Taliban leaders and ensure that the group does not get a diplomatic seat at the UN.
In a letter to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Gueterres, the senators asked the UN to take targeted measures to hold the Taliban responsible for its continued abuses of Afghan women and girls’ human rights.
US Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho); Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; in addition to Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), asked the UN Security Council to re-impose sanctions on the Taliban.
The senators stated that Taliban leadership are allowed to travel freely due to an exemption put in place in 2019, while Afghan women can barely travel outside their own homes due to recent Taliban edicts. Moreover, Taliban leaders have misused the exemption, traveling to Beijing and Moscow in efforts to establish diplomatic ties, they added.
Additionally, they urged the UN to work to ensure the Taliban does not receive a seat at the United Nations when the UN Credentials Committee is scheduled to meet this September to determine diplomatic representation for Afghanistan.
“We must not stand by as the Taliban seeks to erase the human rights of Afghan women and girls. We strongly urge the United Nations to prioritize and advance the human rights of women and girls through all aspects of its work in Afghanistan,” the senators wrote against the backdrop of the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan completing a year soon.
In addition to calling on the UN to ensure its response in Afghanistan protects and advances human rights of women and girls, the senators also pressed for UN humanitarian agencies to maintain a principled approach to aid delivery that is inclusive of female aid works in all sectors and ensures Afghan women and girls are able to equitably access humanitarian aid.
“The new Special Representative of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) must depart from her predecessor’s approach and elevate the importance of women’s human rights and empowerment within its mandate, including by hiring more Afghan women and ensuring they are a part of political dialogue and negotiations,” they added.