UN highlights 'huge step backwards' for women following Afghanistan trip
The Taliban seized power in August 2021, promising a softer version of their brutal 1996-2001 rule that was infamous for human rights abuses. But they have squeezed women out of almost all areas of public life
United Nations, United States: Apparent exemptions granted by the Taliban to harsh restrictions placed on Afghan women are not sufficient to reverse the “huge step backwards” for their rights, the United Nations said Friday as top officials wrapped up a trip to the country.
The Taliban seized power in August 2021, promising a softer version of their brutal 1996-2001 rule that was infamous for human rights abuses.
But they have squeezed women out of almost all areas of public life, recently banning them from secondary and higher education, public sector work and visiting parks and baths.
“It’s very clear that what we’ve seen in terms of basic rights for women and girls is a huge step backwards,” Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman to the UN secretary-general, told reporters.
“And so having a couple of steps forwards after that is not sufficient,” he said.
The UN delegation — which arrived Monday and includes Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and Sima Bahous, executive secretary of UN Women — met with Taliban officials during a four-day visit to Kabul and Kandahar.
At the end of December, Afghanistan’s hardline Islamist rulers banned women from working in non-governmental organizations, leading several to suspend their activities in the country.
Some, however, were able to partially resume activity after receiving assurances from authorities that women would still be able to work in the health sector.
Although there have been recent exemptions for humanitarian organizations “to continue — and in some cases resume — operations,” these “remain limited to few sectors and activities,” a UN statement said.
Deputy Secretary-General Mohammed said in the statement that: “While we recognize the important exemptions made, these restrictions present Afghan women and girls with a future that confines them in their own homes, violating their rights and depriving the communities of their services.”
The delegation also met with various key actors from civil society and humanitarian organizations.
“We have witnessed extraordinary resilience. Afghan women left us no doubt of their courage and refusal to be erased from public life,” Bahous said in the statement.
The visit to Afghanistan followed a series of high-level consultations in several countries across the region and in the Gulf, Asia and Europe.
During these meetings, the organization of an international conference on women and girls in the Muslim world in March 2023 was agreed in principle, the UN said.
Read all the Latest News, Trending News, Cricket News, Bollywood News,
India News and Entertainment News here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Founder of Afghan girls' school project arrested in Kabul
Matiullah Wesa, head of PenPath1 and advocate for girls' education, was arrested in Kabul Monday, the UN mission in Afghanistan tweeted
US working to assist Americans who want to leave Afghanistan: Antony Blinken
Blinken was speaking before Congress when members of the opposition Republican Party went on the offensive on the US exit from Afghanistan in 2021 and requested the release of a State Department internal dissent cable
MEA denies change in India's position on not recognising Taliban
India has not yet recognised the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and has been pitching for the formation of a truly inclusive government in Kabul besides insisting that Afghan soil must not be used for any terrorist activities against any country