Following the Taliban’s ban on female NGO workers, the UN stated on Wednesday (December 28, 2022) that it had paused some of its “time-critical” activities in Afghanistan.
It cautioned that further efforts will probably need to be put on hold because it cannot provide “principled” humanitarian support without female aid workers in a joint statement made by the UN’s top humanitarian official Martin Griffiths and other organizations.
“Banning women from humanitarian work has immediate life-threatening consequences for all Afghans. Already, some time-critical programmes have had to stop temporarily due to lack of female staff,” the statement read.
“We will endeavour to continue lifesaving, time-critical activities unless impeded while we better assess the scope, parameters and consequences of this directive for the people we serve.
“But we foresee that many activities will need to be paused as we cannot deliver principled humanitarian assistance without female aid workers.”
The country “grapples with the prospect of famine conditions, economic deterioration, entrenched poverty, and a cruel winter,” it was underlined, adding over 28 million Afghans need assistance at this time.
The UN once again denounced the Taliban’s restrictions on women’s rights in the statement. “We urge the de facto authorities to reconsider and reverse this directive, and all directives banning women from schools, universities and public life.
“No country can afford to exclude half of its population from contributing to society.”
The Taliban last week ordered all local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to stop their female employees from coming to work and suspended university education for all female students in the country. The move drew condemnation from around the world.
In a statement Tuesday, the UNSC expressed its “deep concern” and called for “the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women and girls in Afghanistan.”
The new restrictions are another step in the Taliban’s crackdown on the freedoms of Afghan women, after taking over the country in August 2021.
Despite the Taliban’s frequent claims that it will preserve girls’ and women’s rights, the organization has done the exact opposite, taking away the hard-won liberties that women have battled valiantly for over the past 20 years.
Some of the Taliban’s most striking restrictions have been around education, with girls also barred from returning to secondary schools in March. The move devastated many students and their families, who described to CNN their dashed dreams of becoming doctors, teachers or engineers.
At least half a dozen major foreign aid groups said they are temporarily suspending their operations in Afghanistan following the ban on female NGO employees.