UNSC Urges Kabul to Lift Restrictions on Women, Girls

The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday called on the Islamic Emirate to “swiftly reverse” policies and practices that are “restricting the human rights and freedoms of Afghan women and girls in Afghanistan.”

The 15-member council agreed to the Norway-drafted statement nearly two weeks after it discussed the situation behind closed-doors. It expressed “deep concern regarding the increasing erosion of respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women and girls in Afghanistan by the Taliban.”

Earlier this month the Islamic Emirate ordered women to cover their faces in public. They also insisted that television broadcasters ensure that their female presenters on local stations cover their faces when on air.

“The members of the Security Council called on the Taliban to swiftly reverse the policies and practices which are currently restricting the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Afghan women and girls,” read the Security Council statement.

Under the Islamic Emirate’s previous rule from 1996 to 2001, women had to cover up, could not work, and girls were banned from school. But after seizing power in August last year, the Islamic Emirate said it would respect women’s rights.

However, in March the Islamic Emirate said that schools for girls over grade six would remain closed until a plan was drawn up in accordance with Islamic law for them to reopen.

The Security Council reiterated their call for the Islamic Emirate to “adhere to their commitments to reopen schools for all female students without further delay.”

The Islamic Emirate has yet to comment regarding this statement.

US special envoy Thomas West, referring to UNSC statement, said the “world is united in calling on Taliban to reverse policies restricting Afghan women and girls’ rights. World also calls for unimpeded access by humanitarian actors & continued focus on economic stabilization.”