UN Security Council calls for reversal of Taliban policies on women and girls | News on women’s rights

The United Nations Security Council has expressed “deep concern” over the Taliban’s order forcing women to cover their faces in public, including on television.

The United Nations Security Council has called on the Taliban to “swiftly reverse” policies restricting the human rights and freedoms of Afghan women, in a unanimously adopted statement, fearing the Taliban is holding back women’s rights.

Tuesday’s decision comes just days after female TV presenters were ordered to cover themselves fully, including their faces, the latest in a series of Taliban restrictions on civil society, many of which are focused on women. and the girls.

In the Norwegian-drafted text, the council’s 15 member states expressed particular concern over “the Taliban’s imposition of restrictions that limit access to education, employment, freedom of movement and women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in public life”.

The council said it called on the Taliban “to swiftly reverse policies and practices that currently restrict the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Afghan women and girls.”

He demanded that the Taliban reopen schools for all female students without further delay and expressed “deep concern” over the announcement that women must cover their faces in public, including on television.

The Taliban had promised media freedom and women’s rights when they returned to power, but instead they have gradually extended restrictions, especially on women, with girls’ high schools yet to open. more than eight months since taking power.

Diplomats said negotiations on the text, which lasted nearly two weeks, ran into snags when China and Russia objected to its focus on human rights.

Therefore, the document also includes paragraphs expressing “deep concern over the volatile situation in Afghanistan” in terms of humanitarian, political, economic, social and security issues.

The text cites in particular drug trafficking and “terrorist” attacks targeting civilians, in addition to the need to restore the country’s financial and banking systems.

During the Taliban’s last period in power in Afghanistan, from 1996 to 2001, they imposed crushing restrictions on women, forcing them to wear the burqa or full veil and banning them from public life and education.

After regaining power in August, the Taliban initially appeared to have eased their restrictions somewhat, announcing no dress code for women. But in recent weeks they have made a sharp and intransigent turn that has confirmed the worst fears of human rights activists and further complicated the Taliban’s relationship with an already wary international community.

Earlier this month, the Taliban passed an edict mandating the wearing of face veils in public spaces. They also banned women from traveling more than 72 km (45 miles) without a mahram (male guardian) and prevented girls from going to school after sixth grade.

Rights activists say the Taliban’s growing restrictions are aimed at removing women from public life and it’s clear they intend to enforce the latest decree on face coverings .

In March, the Taliban also backtracked on its announcement to open high schools for girls, saying they would remain closed until a plan was drawn up in accordance with Islamic law for their reopening.

The UN Security Council “reiterated its call on the Taliban to honor their commitments to reopen schools for all female students without further delay”.