The United Nations marked International Women's Day with a statement in support of Afghani women and girls who have been deprived of human rights.
The UN said that since the Taliban's takeover of the country, it has become the most oppressive nation for women and girls in the world, as the new rulers have shown a “singular focus on imposing rules that leave most women and girls effectively trapped in their homes.”
As the United States and NATO forces finalized retreating from Afghanistan in 2021 after two decades of war, Taliban rulers began imposing strict laws on women's rights. They forbid girls from receiving education beyond sixth grade, banned them from public spaces such as parks and gyms, and required them to cover themselves in clothing from head to toe.
The Taliban said the rules came in response to women incorrectly wearing their hijabs, and gender segregation policies being violated. They also noted that certain university subjects did not align with Islamic values.
Roza Otunbayeva, head of the UN mission to Afghanistan, called the Taliban's efforts "distressing," especially due to their refusal to back down in the face of international condemnation.
“Afghanistan under the Taliban remains the most repressive country in the world regarding women’s rights,” she said. “It has been distressing to witness their methodical, deliberate, and systematic efforts to push Afghan women and girls out of the public sphere."
The UN statement said that 11.6 million Afghan women and girls are in need of humanitarian assistance, yet the Taliban's bans on women working for national and international nongovernmental organizations have created roadblocks.
“Confining half of the country’s population to their homes in one of the world’s largest humanitarian and economic crises is a colossal act of national self-harm,” Otunbayeva added.
“It will condemn not only women and girls, but all Afghans, to poverty and aid-dependency for generations to come. It will further isolate Afghanistan from its own citizens and from the rest of the world.”
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