The UN announced on Wednesday that it had suspended some of its “emergency” programs in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s ban on female NGO workers.
In a joint statement released by UN aid chief Martin Griffiths and other aid groups, he warned that other activities will likely have to be halted as he cannot deliver humanitarian aid.” principle” without the aid workers.
“Barring women from humanitarian work has immediate deadly consequences for all Afghans. Already, some urgent programs have had to temporarily halt due to the lack of female staff,” the statement said.
“We will endeavor to continue vital and urgent activities unless impeded while we better assess the scope, parameters and implications of this directive for the people we serve.
“But we anticipate that many activities will have to be halted as we cannot provide principled humanitarian assistance without the women aid workers.”
He noted that the move comes at a time when more than 28 million people in Afghanistan are in need of assistance as the country “struggles with the risk of famine, economic decline, entrenched poverty and a winter brutal”.
The statement reiterated the UN’s condemnation of the Taliban’s restrictions on women’s rights. “We urge the de facto authorities to reconsider and rescind this directive, as well as all directives barring women from schools, universities and public life.
“No country can afford to prevent half of its population from contributing to society.”
Last week, the Taliban ordered all local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to prevent their female employees from coming to work and suspended university studies for all female students in the country. This decision was condemned around the world.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the UNSC expressed its “deep concern” and called for “the full, equal and meaningful participation of women and girls in Afghanistan”.
The new restrictions are another step in the Taliban’s crackdown on Afghan women’s freedoms, after it took control of the country in August 2021.
Although the Taliban have repeatedly claimed they will protect the rights of girls and women, the group has done the opposite, taking away the hard-won freedoms women have fought tirelessly for over the past two decades.
Some of the Taliban’s most stark restrictions relate to education, with girls also banned from returning to secondary schools in March. The decision devastated many students and their families, who told CNN of their dashed dreams of becoming doctors, teachers or engineers.
At least half a dozen major foreign aid groups have said they are temporarily suspending operations in Afghanistan following a ban on female NGO workers.