The United Nations Security Council said Tuesday it was “deeply alarmed” by the Taliban government’s ban on women attending university or working for aid groups in Afghanistan.
In moves widely condemned by the international community, the Islamist group last week ordered all local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to prevent their female employees from coming to work and suspended university education for all students in the country
In its statement on Tuesday, the UNSC expressed its “deep concern” and called for “the full, equal and meaningful participation of women and girls in Afghanistan.”
He also urged the Taliban to reverse their policies, “which represent a growing erosion of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
The new restrictions mark another step in the Taliban’s brutal crackdown on Afghan women’s freedoms, following the hardline Islamist group’s takeover of the country in August 2021.
Although the Taliban repeatedly claimed they would protect the rights of girls and women, the group has done the opposite, stripping away the freedoms women have fought tirelessly for over the past two decades.
Some of the Taliban’s most shocking restrictions have been around education, with girls banned from returning to secondary schools in March. The move devastated many students and their families, who described to CNN their shattered dreams of becoming doctors, teachers or engineers.
At least half a dozen major foreign aid groups have said they will temporarily suspend operations in Afghanistan following a ban on female NGO workers.
Banning NGOs would affect humanitarian operations in the country, including those of the UN, according to the UNSC statement.
“These restrictions contradict the commitments made by the Taliban to the Afghan people, as well as the expectations of the international community,” added the UNSC.
Writing on Twitter on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the restrictions were “unjustified violations of human rights and must be reversed”.
“Actions to exclude and silence women and girls continue to cause immense suffering and great setbacks to the potential of the Afghan people,” he said.