11 UN Security Council States demand the Taliban rescind all policies and decrees oppressing women and girls News
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11 UN Security Council States demand the Taliban rescind all policies and decrees oppressing women and girls

More than two-thirds of the UN Security Council demanded the Taliban rescind policies and decrees oppressing women and girls on Monday. The vote was 11-15. Guyana’s Ambassador to the UN, Rodriguez-Birkett, read the statement.

The UN has sought more international communication with the Taliban since their takeover of Afghanistan during a US and NATO withdrawal in 2021. The Taliban, while being the de facto rulers, have not been recognized by any other country since the takeover. The international community has predicated a relationship with the Taliban on the lifting of policies oppressive towards women and girls.

Earlier this month, the UN published a report that indicated that the Taliban’s restrictions on women’s attire and its requirement that women have a male guardian are limiting Afghan women’s freedom of movement and access to education, employment, health care and other basic rights. The Taliban has stopped girls from going to school beyond the sixth grade. This all happened despite previous promises the Taliban made to be more moderate than they were during their rule in the late 1990s. 

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996-2001 and were known for their oppression and restriction of Women in society. During the US-supported Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Women and girls were given much broader freedoms. They were allowed to go to school and have jobs. The US government often cited women’s rights as a primary reason for military involvement in the country.

Some have argued that the 21 years without Taliban rule have changed the expectations of women in the country. Douglas Chin, a human rights activist from California who worked with the Afghani women’s robotics team, said, “The soul of Afghanistan is forever changed. Regardless of how women may be arrested, imprisoned, beaten, and oppressed, it is now the expectation, the demand, and the right of Afghan women and girls to be educated. The Taliban are a harsh and brutal externality, but the fact is the soul of Afghanistan is forever changed.”

The statement was read before a UN-convened meeting in Doha with member states and special envoys to Afghanistan to address human rights concerns. The Taliban did not attend despite being invited.