Taliban crackdown on women triggers emergency UN meeting

THE UNITED NATIONS –


The UN Security Council held emergency closed-door consultations on Thursday on the Taliban’s latest crackdown on Afghan women as it considered a presidential statement that would express deep concern over its new ban on women. to leave the house “unnecessarily” and to wear head-to-toe clothing when out in public.


The Norwegian-drafted statement would also call for a reversal of policies that restrict the rights of women and girls.


The Taliban extremists, who came to power last August, have turned back the clock in Afghanistan to their harsh rule of 1996 until December 2001, when they were ousted from power by US forces following the terrorist attacks. September 11 in the United States, with girls and women. always the main target.


In addition to Saturday’s new order on leaving home and clothes, girls are now banned from going to school beyond the sixth grade, women are banned from most jobs and the boarding planes if traveling unaccompanied by a male relative, and men and women can only visit public parks on different days.


Norway’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Trine Heimerback, told reporters ahead of the council meeting that the Taliban’s policies focus on the oppression of women and girls rather than the “catastrophic economic and humanitarian situation of the country, which she said could lead “to violence and radicalization”.


Ireland and Mexico, co-chairs of the Security Council’s informal expert group on women, peace and security, sent a letter to council members on Thursday calling the Taliban’s latest move appalling.


It confirms that Afghanistan’s current leadership has “no intention of promoting, respecting or defending the rights of women and girls, nor honoring the multiple commitments they have made to Afghan women and international community in recent months,” they said.


Additionally, the co-chairs said the Taliban’s decision “shows complete disregard for the council’s clear message that women must play a full, equal and meaningful role in all aspects of public and political life in Afghanistan.”


Irish Ambassador to the UN Geraldine Byrne Nason told reporters that women and girls “now face some of the toughest restrictions imaginable”, and that the international community and the Security Council have “the moral responsibility to act” and to condemn the policies of the Taliban which seek to exclude half of the Afghan population. population.


British Ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward said that over the past 20 years women have had the opportunity to study, work, decide their own future and be part of a ” flourishing cultural environment”. Before the Taliban took power, she said, 3.6 million girls were in school, a quarter of seats in parliament were held by women, and women made up 20 percent of the workforce.


“And now the Taliban are looking to eliminate all of that,” Woodward said, emphasizing that women shouldn’t have to accept “a life banished to the sidelines.”


She told reporters after Thursday’s closed-door council meeting that the ambassadors discussed the activities of the UN political mission in Afghanistan, “but really focusing on the situation of women and girls”.


Asked about the prospects for a Security Council agreement on the presidential statement, Woodward said: “I really hope that very soon we can agree on a product that expresses our collective agreement and concern about these developments.”

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