The United Nations said on Wednesday that since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, the country has become the most repressive country in the world for women and girls, who are denied many of their basic rights.
In a statement released on International Women’s Day, the UN mission said that Afghanistan’s new rulers “have a single-minded focus on imposing regulations that effectively trap most women and girls in their homes.”
Despite early promises of a more lenient stance, the Taliban have imposed draconian measures since seizing power in August 2021 as US and NATO forces were in the final weeks of their withdrawal from Afghanistan after two decades of war.
He has banned girls’ education after sixth grade and women’s education in public places like parks and gyms. Women are also barred from working in national and international NGOs and ordered to cover themselves from head to toe.
“Afghanistan under the Taliban remains the most repressive country in the world in terms of women’s rights,” said Roza Otunbayeva, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of Mission in Afghanistan.
“It is distressing to see their systematic, deliberate and systematic efforts to push Afghan women and girls out of the public sphere,” she said.
The restrictions, particularly restrictions on education and NGO work, have drawn strong international condemnation. But the Taliban has shown no sign of backing down, claiming the restrictions are a temporary suspension reportedly because women did not wear the Islamic headscarf, or hijab, correctly and because gender segregation rules were not being followed. Was.
With regard to the ban on university education, the Taliban government has stated that some of the subjects being taught were not in line with Afghan and Islamic values.
Otunbayeva also said, “confining half the country’s population to their homes in one of the world’s biggest humanitarian and economic crises is a colossal act of national self-harm.”
“This will condemn not only women and girls, but all Afghans to poverty and aid-dependence for generations to come,” she said. “It will isolate Afghanistan from its own citizens and from the rest of the world.”
At a carpet factory in Kabul, women who were former government employees, high school or university students, now spend their days weaving carpets.
“We all live like prisoners, we feel like we are imprisoned in a cage,” said 22-year-old Hafiza, known only by her first name, who has been living since the Taliban banned women from attending classes. Before that she was a first year law student. his university. “The worst is when your dreams are shattered, and you are punished for being a woman.”
The UN mission in Afghanistan also said it has recorded an almost continuous stream of discriminatory decrees and measures against women since the Taliban takeover – women’s right to travel or work outside the confines of their home and spaces Access to them is largely restricted, and they have also been excluded from all levels of public decision-making.
“The harm the Taliban is inflicting on its own citizens goes beyond women and girls,” said Alison Davidian, Special Representative for UN Women in Afghanistan.
An official of the Taliban-led government was not immediately available for comment.
At the carpet factory, 18-year-old Shahida, who uses only one name, said she was in 10th grade at a high school in Kabul when she dropped out.
“We (Taliban) demand the government to reopen schools and educational centers for us and give us our rights,” he said.
Ahead of International Women’s Day, nearly 200 Afghan women small business owners set up an exhibition of their products in Kabul. Most complained of losing business since the Taliban takeover.
One of them, Tamkin Rahimi, said, “I don’t expect the Taliban to respect women’s rights.” “Women here cannot exercise (their) rights and celebrate Women’s Day, because we cannot go to school, university or work, so I feel we have no day to celebrate.”
The UN Security Council was to meet later on Wednesday with Otunbayeva and female representatives of Afghan civil society groups.
According to the statement, 11.6 million Afghan women and girls are in need of humanitarian assistance. However, the Taliban are further undermining international aid efforts by banning women from working for non-governmental organizations.