Sat, 28 January 2023
The Daily Ittefaq

Taliban urged to lift 'oppressive' restrictions on women

Update : 14 Jan 2023, 12:16

Members of the UN Security Council said female aid workers are essential in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the head of one NGO told DW some Taliban leaders agree the restrictions on women are harmful.

Most countries on the United Nations Security Council have once again urged the Taliban to drop restrictions on women and girls, including a recent move to ban female aid workers.

"We urge the Taliban to immediately reverse all oppressive measures against women and girls," said Japanese ambassador Ishikane Kimihiro on Friday, speaking on behalf of 11 members of the Security Council.

These nations called on the Taliban to "respect the rights of women and girls, and their full, equal and meaningful participation and inclusion across all aspects of society in Afghanistan, from political and economic, to education and public space."

Russia, China, Ghana and Mozambique were the only Security Council members that did not support the statement.

United Arab Emirates ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, who had called for the meeting with Japan, said afterwards that the "key takeaways" were that humanitarian work is essential in Afghanistan and that the Security Council was committed to engaging with the Taliban in order to "try and help move the situation on the ground towards a better trajectory."

Humanitarian groups unable to work without women
The UN special envoy for Afghanistan, Roza Otunbayeva, told the Security Council  that the Taliban's recent restrictions contradict past assurances that they would respect the human rights of women and girls. She said one of the most recent impacts has been the delivery of humanitarian assistance in winter.

Several international aid groups including the Norwegian Refugee Council, Care, World Vision and Islamic Relief have suspended their work in Afghanistan since December 24, arguing that they cannot effectively serve the population without women in their teams. But the UN said its agencies would keep working in Afghanistan. 

The head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland, visited Afghanistan this week to try and persuade the Taliban to overturn its ban female aid workers.

"I've met with numerous Taliban leaders, several ministers, several religious scholars and prominent figures in the Taliban here in Kabul," he said in an interview with DW's Jared Reed.

"And surprisingly, they say that they agree with me that it should be possible for us as humanitarian organizations to work with our female colleagues."

He said that although hardliners currently "have the upper hand," some Taliban leaders understand the damage caused by the restrictions imposed on women.

"They even agree with that the ban on female education is counterproductive," he said.

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