The European Union representatives in a United Nations Commission on the Status of Women’s session said that the ban on female education deprived women and girls of enjoying the human right to education, increases risks of experiencing gender-based violence, and “undermines Afghanistan’s stability,” according to the statement released by UN members.
In a statement, the UN said, “In recognition of the ideals and principles and the Commission on the Status of Women, and recalling the commitments made during International Women’s Day on March 8th, we wish to express our strong concerns about the weakening of respect for the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan who face extreme restrictions seen nowhere else in the world on the enjoyment of their rights, freedoms, and access to life-saving aid.”
It further added that the Taliban continues to defy the will of the Afghan people, retracting their promises to the international community and implementing oppressive measures against women and girls.
The UN remains concerned that, despite international advocacy, the Taliban has not changed course after a full year of this repression – if anything, they’ve become more entrenched.
The UN members noted that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in its January 2023 meeting, “emphasized the position of Islamic [law] on the need for women’s education, work, and participation in public life.”
“In addition, the order barring female employees of national and international NGOs from the workplace means that millions of Afghans will be unable to access life-saving humanitarian assistance and face an even higher risk of violence, exploitation, and abuse. One-third of the humanitarian workforce in Afghanistan is female. They are now unable to work or reach women and other vulnerable people in need of basic support such as food, social services, and safe drinking water, with devastating consequences for their health and well-being,” the statement read.
Taliban has imposed draconian restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, association, assembly, and movement for women and girls.
The Taliban’s decision to ban female students above grade six from going to school has drawn widespread criticism at the national and international levels. Further, the Taliban regime which took over Kabul in August last year has curtailed women’s rights and freedoms, with women largely excluded from the workforce due to the economic crisis and restrictions.
Recently, the Taliban banned female students from sitting in university entrance exams which are slated to take place next month, the Afghan news agency TOLOnews reported.
The Taliban Ministry of Higher Education has sent a notice to the universities which state that the girls cannot apply for the exams until further notice. Apparently, they have banned girls from registering for the 1402 (solar year) university entrance exam.
As a result of this, women and girls in Afghanistan are facing a human rights crisis, deprived of the fundamental rights to non-discrimination, education, work, public participation, and health.