The 15-member body in New York unanimously approved a resolution calling for “full, equal, meaningful and safe participation of women and girls in Afghanistan” and urging all nations and organisations with sway over the fundamentalist rulers of that nation “to promote an urgent reversal” of policies that have effectively excluded women from public life.
Since the Taliban took control in July 2021 and overthrew the democratically elected government, they have regressed on a number of fronts, including the right of women and girls to education, restrictions on their freedom of movement and employment, and, as of last December, a ban on female citizens working for the majority of nongovernmental organisations.
The Taliban expanded their ban earlier this month to include women who work for the United Nations.
Early in April, the UN emphasised its “unequivocal condemnation” of the action, stating that it is against international law, particularly the UN Charter. Except for a few essential tasks, all UN employees have been instructed not to report to the office while an operational review is being conducted. The review will end on May 5.
Afghanistan has the largest aid operation in the world this year, with a record 28.3 million people in need. The UN is requesting $4.6 billion to fully support relief efforts this year. This month, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator issued a warning that, with less than 5% of funding committed as of yet, Afghanistan was also the least well-funded operation in the entire world.
The Security Council resolution expresses ambassadors’ “deep concern” over the ban on women working for the UN and claims that it, along with other erosions of fundamental rights, “will negatively and severely impact” UN aid operations in the nation, “including the delivery of life-saving assistance and basic services to the most vulnerable,”
It emphasises that unless the prohibition is lifted, UNAMA, the country’s UN assistance mission, will also be unable to carry out its humanitarian mission. The resolution stresses that the ban “is unprecedented in United Nations history.”
Dire’ economic and humanitarian conditions
The resolution also emphasises the necessity of continuing to address Afghanistan’s “dire economic and humanitarian situation” and assist the nation in regaining its independence, while also emphasising the significance of enabling the Central Bank to use assets that are currently frozen abroad “for the benefit of the Afghan people.”
The Council called on everyone with an interest in Afghanistan, including Taliban authorities, to “ensure the safety, security, and freedom of movement of the United Nations and associated personnel throughout the country” and reiterated its “full support” for UNAMA’s ongoing efforts.