The UN Security Council held closed emergency consultations Thursday on the Taliban’s latest crackdown on Afghan women as it considered a presidential statement that would express deep concern about the new ban on women leaving the home “without necessity” and from top to bottom. wear teen clothes when they go out in public anyway.
The statement prepared by Norway would also call for a reversal of policies restricting the rights of women and girls.
Taliban hardliners, who came to power last August, have turned back the clock in Afghanistan to their hard-line rule from 1996 to December 2001, when they were ousted from power by US forces after the 9/11 attacks in the United States. with girls and women still the main target.
In addition to Saturday’s new rule about leaving home and clothes, girls are now prohibited from going to school after sixth grade, women are not allowed to board most jobs and the plane if traveling without a male relative, and men and women are allowed only visit public parks on separate days.
Norway’s deputy UN ambassador to Norway, Trine Heimerback, told reporters before the council meeting that Taliban policies are aimed at oppressing women and girls rather than addressing the “catastrophic economic and humanitarian situation” she warned of. that this could lead to “violence and radicalisation”.
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 decision abhorrent.
It affirms that Afghanistan’s current rulers “have no intention of promoting, respecting or enforcing the rights of women and girls, or honoring the many commitments they have made to Afghan women and the international community in recent months” , they said.
In addition, the co-chairs said the Taliban’s decision “shows a total 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 UN Ambassador 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 a moral responsibility to act” and follow Taliban policies. condemn that aims to exclude half of the Afghan population. population.
British UN Ambassador Barbara Woodward said over the past 20 years women have had opportunities to gain education, work, make decisions about their own future and be part of “a thriving cultural environment”. Before the Taliban took over, she said, there were 3.6 million girls in school, a quarter of the seats in parliament were held by women, and women made up 20% of the workforce.
“And now the Taliban are trying to take all that away,” Woodward said, stressing that women should not accept that “a life has been banished to the sidelines.”
She told reporters after Thursday’s council meeting behind closed doors that ambassadors discussed the activities of the UN political mission in Afghanistan, “but really focused on the situation for women and girls.”
Asked about the prospects for the Security Council to agree to the presidential statement, Woodward said, “I very much hope that very soon we can agree on a product that expresses our collective agreement and our concern about these latest developments.”