The UN claimed on Tuesday that the Taliban, who currently rule Afghanistan, had told them that Afghan women would no longer be permitted to work for the international organization. The UN made its announcement on Wednesday. Following the UN mission’s worry that its female employees were unable to report for duty in the eastern Nangarhar province, that declaration was made.
Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the UN, urged that the ban be “immediately revoked.”
In a statement issued on Wednesday on Guterres’ behalf, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, “This is a violation of the inalienable fundamental human rights of women.”
The Taliban have not commented publicly on the ban or released a statement.
The UN statement said several UN national female personnel have already experienced restrictions on their movements, including harassment, intimidation and detention.
“The UN has therefore instructed all national staff – men and women – not to report to the office until further notice,” the statement said.
Despite initial promises of a more moderate rule than during its previous stint in power, the Taliban have imposed harsh measures since taking over the country in 2021 as US and NATO forces pulled out of Afghanistan after two decades of war.
Girls are banned from education beyond sixth grade. Women are barred from working, studying, travelling without a male companion, and visiting parks. Women must also cover themselves from head to toe.
Afghan women were already barred from working at national and international non-governmental organisations, disrupting the delivery of humanitarian aid. Still, the ban did not previously cover working for the UN.
Taliban restrictions in Afghanistan, especially the bans on education and NGO work, have drawn fierce international condemnation. But the Taliban have shown no signs of backing down, claiming the bans are temporary suspensions in place allegedly because women were not wearing their headscarf, or hijab, correctly and because gender segregation rules were not being followed.