US calls for UN to urge Taliban to reverse bans on women

The United States on Friday pushed the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution calling on the Taliban-led authorities in Afghanistan to reverse bans on women working for aid groups or attending universities and high school, diplomats said.

The 15-member council met privately on Friday – at the request of the United Arab Emirates and Japan – to discuss the decisions by the Islamist Taliban-led administration, which seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the council that given the gravity of the situation it should unanimously adopt a resolution to condemn the bans and call for an immediate reversal, said diplomats.

It was not immediately clear whether all members would back such a formal move by the council. A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Russia, China, Britain, France, or the United States to be adopted.

“Clearly the Security Council has a few tools with its toolkit,” United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the UN Lana Nusseibeh said, adding that the body should focus on how it can practically help the situation on the ground.

The Security Council agreed by consensus to an informal statement last month calling for the full, equal and meaningful participation of women and girls in Afghanistan, denouncing the ban on women attending universities or working for aid groups.

Before the meeting on Friday, 11 Security Council members – including the United States, Britain, and France – issued a joint statement urging the Taliban to reverse all oppressive measures against women and girls.

The ban on female aid workers was announced by the Taliban-led administration on December 24. It followed a ban imposed earlier last month on women attending universities. Girls were stopped from attending high school in March.


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