UN officials to meet Taliban over ban on women workers in Afghanistan

World
Wed, 5 Apr 2023 7:38 GMT
UN mission in Afghanistan says de facto authorities banned female staff from working in eastern Afghanistan.
UN officials to meet Taliban over ban on women workers in Afghanistan

UN mission in Afghanistan says de facto authorities banned female staff from working in eastern Afghanistan.

The UN officials will meet the Taliban administration in Kabul on Wednesday to “seek clarity” on a ban that prevents its female staff from working in eastern Afghanistan.

Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN secretary-general, said: “Our colleagues on the ground at the UN mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) received word of an order by the de facto authorities that bans female national staff members of the UN from working.”

“We are still looking into how this development would affect our operations in the country,” he said, according to a transcript of his news briefing released by the UN on Tuesday.

“We expect to have more meetings with the de facto authorities tomorrow (Wednesday) in Kabul … we are trying to seek some clarity,” he added.

Earlier, UNAMA condemned the ban and said it cannot operate without its female staff.

“We remind de facto authorities that United Nations entities cannot operate and deliver life-saving assistance without female staff,” UNAMA said on Twitter.

UN Chief Antonio Guterres also condemned the latest move against the female UN staff and said it will impact the ability of the UN to help people in Afghanistan.

“I strongly condemn the prohibition of our Afghan female colleagues from working in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province. If this measure is not reversed, it will inevitably undermine our ability to deliver life-saving aid to the people who need it,” Guterres wrote on Twitter.

The Taliban administration is yet to share any detail about the local authorities’ action in Nangarhar province, bordering Pakistan.

However, the latest development came just less than three months after three international aid agencies, including CARE, Save the Children, and International Rescue Committee (IRC), announced in January to partially resume their activities in Afghanistan after the Taliban administration’s assurance to allow female workers to carry out their work.

These agencies suspended their operations in December last year after the Taliban banned women from working in local and international aid organizations.

The Taliban's return to power, followed by the disruption of international financial assistance, has left the war-torn country in economic, humanitarian and human rights crises.

Women and girls have been deprived of their rights, including the right to education, and they have disappeared from public life.

Thousands of women have since lost their jobs or were forced to resign from government institutions and the private sector.

Girls have been prevented from attending middle and high schools.

Many women have demanded that their rights be reinstated by taking to the streets, protesting and organizing campaigns.

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