June 5, 2023

Great Indian Mutiny

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The Secretary-General of the United Nations condemns the Taliban’s ban on its female Afghan employees

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Female workers are vital to the United Nations humanitarian assistance operations in Afghanistan

The head of the United Nations has strongly condemned the Taliban’s ban on Afghan women working for the organisation.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Afghanistan’s rulers to immediately rescind the order, saying it was discriminatory and violated international human rights law.

He said the female staff were “essential to UN operations” in the country.

The Taliban have placed increasing restrictions on women’s freedoms since seizing power in 2021.

There was no immediate word from their government on the reason for the order. Foreign female workers in the United Nations are exempted.

The United Nations is working to provide humanitarian aid to 23 million people in Afghanistan, which is suffering from an acute economic and humanitarian crisis. Female workers play a vital role in aid operations on the ground, particularly in identifying other women in need.

“Female staff are essential to UN operations, including the provision of life-saving assistance,” Secretary-General Mr. Guterres said in a statement.

“The implementation of this decision will harm the Afghan people, millions of whom need this assistance,” he added.

He called on the Taliban to “reverse all measures that restrict the right of women and girls to work, education and freedom of movement.”

Earlier, the United Nations told its Afghan staff – both men and women – not to show up to work while it sought clarification from the Taliban. Local women were prevented from going to work at United Nations facilities in the eastern province of Nangarhar on Tuesday.

The UN mission was exempt from the previous ban imposed by the Taliban, passed in December, which banned all NGOs from using female workers unless they work in health.

How the country’s health programs will be affected by the ban on UN staff remains unclear.

The ban is seen as the most important test for the future of the United Nations operations in Afghanistan, and the relationship between the organization and the Taliban government, which is not recognized anywhere in the world.

Since the Taliban returned to power, teenage girls and women have been banned from entering schools, colleges and universities. Women are required to wear clothes that reveal only their eyes, and must be accompanied by a male relative if they are traveling more than 72 kilometers (48 miles).

And last November, women were banned from parks, gyms and swimming pools, stripping away the most basic freedoms.

In February, Professor Ismail Mashal, an outspoken critic of the Taliban government’s ban on women’s education, was arrested in Kabul while distributing free books.

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