Taliban extends ban on Afghan women working to include UN’s mission in the country

The extended ban comes after the Taliban, who regained power in 2021, placed a ban on most NGO workers in December 2022.

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Nearly 400 Afghan women, who are United Nations employees, were told not to come to work until at least May after the Taliban extended an order that doesn’t allow female staff to work for the global organization. The extended ban comes after the Taliban, who regained power in 2021, placed a ban on most NGO workers in December 2022.

The UN launched a review of its operations in the country and said that implementing the order will put it in breach of its charter.

“Through this ban, the Taliban de facto authorities seek to force the United Nations into having to make an appalling choice between staying and delivering in support of the Afghan people and standing by the norms and principles we are duty-bound to uphold,” the UN mission (Unama) said.

According to the UN, it asked 3,000 staff members, both men and women, to stay home until May 5 while the organization made “‘necessary consultations’, any required adjustments to its operations and accelerated contingency planning,” The Guardian reported.

“Such orders, as we saw today, violate the fundamental rights of women and infringe upon the principle of non-discrimination,” Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, said.

Dujarric said the UN provides humanitarian aid for close to 23 million people, or half of Afghanistan’s population, and women staff are “vital for on-the-ground aid operations in the country, particularly in identifying other women in need,” The Guardian reported.

This newest restriction comes on the heels of restrictions previously placed on women’s access to work, education and public life.

“Afghanistan is not a country for women but instead a cage for women,” Humaira Qader, university lecturer, said.

But Taliban officials said, while they respect women’s rights, it must be in line with the strict interpretation of Islamic law.

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