The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says that the ban on women employees working with international aid organizations has interrupted the delivery of vital aid to millions of women and children in Afghanistan.
The UNHCR on Sunday once more reiterated the crucial role female employees play in the distribution of much-needed aid to Afghan women and children during these difficult economic times.
“Preventing women from humanitarian work is a grave denial of their humanity. It will only result in further suffering and hardship for all Afghans, especially women, and children. This ban must be lifted,” the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said.
The recent gender-based restrictions barring female staff from working with national and international aid organizations prompted widespread criticisms, however, the Islamic Emirate authorities have not yet shown any leniency in their position regarding the announcement.
The ban on female employees of NGOs has caused some aid organizations to cease their operations in the country, and have said that they will not resume their activities until restrictions are lifted and women can return to work.
According to a survey conducted by UN Women, 93% of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) will cease their life-saving services without their women staff, either fully or partially. This is quite a high percentage as the people of Afghanistan are struggling with a dire economic and humanitarian situation in the country.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan is experiencing one of the coldest winters in the past decade, which has already caused the death of hundreds of people and thousands of livestock throughout the country. The extreme weather conditions have further complicated the delivery of food and other necessary items to needy families in Afghanistan.
Furthermore, the isolation of Afghan women and girls from public life is not in the interest of the people of Afghanistan and the international community. The US, UN, and other major stakeholders have kept pushing the Taliban regime to implement a softer policy if they wish to achieve internal legitimacy and international recognition.