Taliban should lift its restrictions on women, says UN human rights chief

U.N. Security Council condemns growing limitations on women's rights in Afghanistan and urges the Taliban government to put an end to them immediately.

Last week, the Taliban authorities prohibited women from attending universities, which sparked protests in Afghan cities and drew international criticism.

They stated on Saturday that women would no longer be allowed to work for NGOs, which has already led four significant international relief organisations to halt their operations in Afghanistan.

Volker Turk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, warned that the move to forbid women from working for non-governmental organisations would have “serious implications.”

In a statement released in Geneva, he stated that “no country can develop—indeed, survive—socially and economically with half its population excluded.”

“These unfathomable restrictions placed on women and girls will not only increase the suffering of all Afghans but, I fear, pose a risk beyond Afghanistan’s borders.”

The most recent rule issued by the de facto government, according to Mr. Turk, “would have devastating effects for women and for the Afghan people.”

He continued by saying that excluding women from working for NGOs would rob them of income and the ability to “contribute positively” to the development of their nation.

According to him, the restriction will severely limit, if not completely eliminate, these NGOs’ ability to provide the crucial services that so many Afghans in need depend on.

When the Taliban seized control last year, they first pledged a more moderate system that would protect the rights of minorities and women, but they have since widely enforced their rigorous version of Islamic law, known as Sharia.

Girls have been barred from middle and high school, they are not allowed to work in most professions, and they are required to cover up completely in public.

Parks and gyms also forbid women’s entry.

The inherent rights of women and girls cannot be denied, Mr Turk said. 

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