Amnesty Urges UNSC to Focus on Reversing Taliban’s Repressive Policies on Women at Meet

Friday, 01/13/2023

The closed-door meeting of the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) on Afghanistan on Friday must focus on how to reverse the stifling ban by the Taliban on women and girls from accessing work, education, sports and public spaces, said Amnesty International.

The global organisation added that with poverty rates skyrocketing, the Taliban’s decision to ban women from working with NGOs is pushing the country further into a humanitarian crisis.

“It is imperative that the UN Security Council halts the steep decline in women and girls’ rights in the country. The world watches as the Taliban systematically decimate women’s rights through numerous discriminatory restrictions rolled out by them in quick succession over the last few months,” said Yamini Mishra, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for South Asia.

Amnesty International called on the Taliban to immediately allow women and girls to return to secondary and tertiary education and to allow women to work and access public spaces independently.

It also asked the international community to call on the Taliban to reverse their restrictive policies.

Recalling the repressive policies regarding women implemented by the Taliban, Amnesty International stated that on 24 December 2022, Taliban ordered all local and foreign NGOs not to employ female employees; then on 20 December, they ordered all universities to not accept women students until further notice and in November 2022, women had been denied the right to enter parks and gyms in the country.

Amnesty International added, “The UNSC must call not only for the Taliban to urgently lift their restrictions on women and girls, but also for an end to their crackdown on anyone who dares to protest against these constraints in Afghanistan.”

The statement emphasised that the NGO-led aid sector, which is the main source of humanitarian assistance in the country, is teetering on the brink of collapse with at least three major international NGOs -CARE, the Norwegian Refugee Council and Save the Children and the United Nations– having suspended their operations in the country because they were unable to run their programs without female staff.

Noting that Afghan women and girls are already denied access to secondary and tertiary education, the statement added that the ban on women working with NGOs will also prevent students from accessing education through community-based education systems. Such programs were the only way about 3.7 million out-of-school children, about 60 percent of whom are girls, could still access schooling in pre-Taliban era. The teachers working in this system are primarily women and would be classified by the Taliban as NGO workers, it said.

Stressing on how the Taliban removed women working for the government, including those with roles in civil service, policy-making bodies and the judiciary, the statement recalled how since Taliban took control of the country in August 2021, they have violated women’s and girls’ rights to education, work and free movement; decimated the system of protection and support for those fleeing domestic violence; detained women and girls for minor violations of discriminatory rules; and contributed to a surge in the rates of child, early and forced marriage in Afghanistan.

Earlier too, Amnesty International’s report, Death in Slow Motion: Women and Girls Under Taliban Rule, revealed how women who peacefully protested against these oppressive rules have been threatened, arrested, detained, tortured, and forcibly disappeared.

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