Plight of women and girls in Afghanistan is 'worst in the world' says UN

NGOs have warned of a humanitarian crisis in the poverty-stricken nation.NGOs have warned of a humanitarian crisis in the poverty-stricken nation.
NGOs have warned of a humanitarian crisis in the poverty-stricken nation.
Rights of women and girls have been eroded since the Taliban took power

The opposition party in Afghanistan has "strongly appealed" to the United Nations Security Council and the international community to refrain from legitimising the Taliban regime ahead of the UN’s quarterly meeting on Afghanistan.

The National Resistance Council for the Salvation of Afghanistan (NRCSA) warned international authorities that recognising the Taliban as a legitimate government would be detrimental to the pursuit of peace, stability, and the rights of the Afghan people.

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This comes as the United Nations refugee arm (UNHCR) warned the plight of women and girls in the country was the worst in the world.

In a joint report by UNHCR’s Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan and the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls presented to the UN Human Rights Council, Richard Bennett and Dorothy Estrada-Tanck, said edicts issued by the Taliban since taking power in Afghanistan in August 2021 have severely restricted the rights of women and girls and suffocated every dimension of their lives.

In Afghanistan today, girls and women are denied education beyond primary level, banned from working outside the home in most sectors, prohibited from accessing public baths, parks, and gyms, and moving freely around the country.

Women have also been barred from working in charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) by the Taliban, including in humanitarian organisations. Previously, women who wanted to work in any job had to be accompanied at all times by a male chaperone if they were required to leave the house.

“Women and girls in Afghanistan are experiencing severe discrimination that may amount to gender persecution – a crime against humanity – and be characterised as gender apartheid, as the de facto authorities appear to be governing by systemic discrimination with the intention to subject women and girls to total domination,” the experts said.

The report calls on the de facto authorities to respect and restore women’s and girls’ human rights and urges the increased attention of the international community and the UN to the widespread discrimination against women and girls in Afghanistan.

The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)’s latest humanitarian update on Afghanistan, which was published last month, said 28 million Afghans – more than two-thirds of the population – will require life-saving assistance in 2023. Afghanistan is currently facing a humanitarian disaster. The World Food Programme has said that 90 per cent of people in Afghanistan face insufficient food consumption.

The NRCSA said: "The NRCSA urges the United Nations Security Council and the international community to stand firm against legitimising the Taliban regime. It is crucial that we uphold the principles of democracy, human rights, and justice in Afghanistan and work together to ensure a future that respects the will and aspirations of the Afghan people.”

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It added: “We advocate for a revised approach to aid flow to Afghanistan, ensuring that it is aligned with the genuine needs of the Afghan people. Direct delivery of aid to those in need is of utmost importance, guaranteeing that it reaches the most vulnerable populations and is not diverted or misused by the Taliban.”

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