June 6, 2023

Brighton Journal

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The UN should “quickly reverse” its crackdown on women’s rights Women’s Rights News

The Security Council votes unanimously to condemn the ban on Afghan women working at the United Nations, in the latest move to restrict the lives of women and girls.

The United Nations Security Council has unanimously condemned the Taliban’s ban on Afghan women working for the United Nations in Afghanistan, calling on Taliban leaders to “rapidly roll back” their crackdown on women’s and girls’ rights.

The resolution – drafted by the United Arab Emirates and Japan – calls the ban “unprecedented in the history of the United Nations” and says it “undermines human rights and humanitarian principles”. The resolution also emphasized the “indispensable role of women in Afghan society.”

The UAE’s ambassador to the United Nations, Lana Nusseibeh, said more than 90 countries co-sponsored the resolution – “from Afghanistan’s immediate neighborhood, from the Islamic world and from around the world.”

She told the UN Security Council: “This … support makes our core message today even more important – the world will not stand by while women in Afghanistan are erased from society.”

The UN Security Council vote came days before the planned international meeting on Afghanistan, in Doha on May 1-2. UN Secretary-General António Guterres is meeting behind closed doors with special envoys on Afghanistan from various countries to work on a unified approach to dealing with the Taliban.

“We will not stand for the Taliban’s oppression of women and girls,” Deputy US Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood told the UN Security Council. These decisions are not tenable. They are not seen anywhere else in the world.”

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“Taliban’s decrees cause irreparable harm to Afghanistan.”

Earlier this month, the Taliban began enforcing bans on Afghan women working for the United Nations after barring most women from working for humanitarian relief groups in December. Since the Western-backed government was toppled in 2021, the group has also tightened controls on women’s access to public life, including preventing women from attending university and closing secondary schools for girls.

The Taliban says it respects women’s rights in accordance with its strict interpretation of Islamic law and that decisions about aid workers were an “internal issue”.

The Security Council resolution also recognizes the need to address the significant challenges facing the Afghan economy, including through the use of assets owned by the Afghan Central Bank for the benefit of the Afghan people.

Washington froze billions in the bank’s reserves held in the United States, and later transferred half of the money to a trust in Switzerland overseen by American, Swiss and Afghan trustees.

“As of today, what we have seen is only that assets have been transferred from one account to another, but not a single penny has been returned to the Afghan people,” China’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Geng Shuang, told the UN Security Council.

Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzia, also called for the return of the assets of the Central Bank of Afghanistan.