The United Nations Security Council convened a special meeting to discuss the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, including the Taliban’s restrictions on women in a closed-door council meeting.
The session was called at the request of Norway’s Permanent Representative to the UN. The meeting’s participants voiced deep concern over the Taliban’s recent crackdown on women in Afghanistan.
Following the conference, Norway expressed concern over the continued violation of women’s and girls’ rights in Afghanistan, calling it a threat to the country’s “peace and stability.” Norway has reiterated that the Taliban is violating women’s and girls’ rights rather than addressing Afghanistan’s economic difficulties.
Trine Heimerback, Norway’s deputy U.N. ambassador, told reporters prior to the council meeting that the Taliban’s policies prioritize oppressing women and girls over addressing the country’s “catastrophic economic and humanitarian situation,” which she warned could lead to “violence and radicalization.”
Ireland and Mexico, co-chairs of the Security Council Informal Expert Group on Women, Peace, and Security, condemned the latest Taliban decision in a letter to council members on Thursday.
It proves Afghanistan’s current leadership have “no intention of promoting, respecting, or upholding the rights of women and girls, or of honoring the multiple commitments that they have made to Afghan women and the international community in recent months,” they stated.
According to Ireland’s UN Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason, women and girls are now subjected to “some of the harshest restrictions imaginable,” and the international community and the Security Council have a “moral responsibility to act” and condemn Taliban policies that seek to exclude half of Afghanistan’s population.
According to Britain’s UN Ambassador Barbara Woodward, women have had more opportunities for education, job, determining their own fate, and being part of a “thriving cultural environment” in the last 20 years. She said that before the Taliban took control, 3.6 million girls were in school, women held a quarter of parliament seats, and women made up 20% of the workforce.
“And now the Taliban is attempting to take away all of that,” Woodward stated, emphasizing that women should not be forced to accept “a life banished to the sidelines.”