UN to Taliban: No recognition without lifting restrictions on women and girls

On Thursday, November 10, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling on the  Taliban to respect the rights of women, girls, and minorities and to abolish the restrictions imposed since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in 2021. 

“The resolution is a clear call to respect, protect and fulfill human rights, develop inclusive governance and fight terrorism,” explained Germany’s UN Ambassador Antje Leendertse. “It contains a clear message that, without, there cannot be business-as-usual and no pathway towards recognition.” 

“We have not seen any effort from the Taliban towards the full enjoyment by women and girls and persons belonging to minorities of their human rights,” she also told the General Assembly.  

The resolution was prepared by Germany with the support of 59 countries, including Turkey, and was approved by 116 nations, with no country voting against it (10 countries, including Pakistan, Russia, and China abstained.) 

Since the Taliban return, women and girls have been deprived of their rights, including the right to go to school, use sports halls, and enter amusement parks. As well, thousands have lost their jobs or been forced to resign from government institutions and the private sector.  

The General Assembly also “reiterated its serious concern about the continuing violence and the presence of terrorist groups such as Al-Qaida and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) also known as Da’esh,” it said in a press release. The Assembly urged the Taliban to take “concrete steps” against the terrorist groups.  

As well, the Assembly “noted with grave concern that millions of people face emergency levels of food insecurity and acknowledged that women and children are disproportionately affected by the humanitarian crisis.” General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi of Hungary expressed his alarm that the UN humanitarian appeal for Afghanistan is only half funded, with a US$2.3 billion shortfall, just weeks away from harsh winter weather settling into the country.  

This is not the first time the international community has condemned the Taliban for their actions against women and minorities. Those previous efforts were ignored by the Taliban. There’s no sign that this UN resolution will change their behaviour, even while 24 million residents require humanitarian aid. Recently, the Taliban banned women from entering amusement parks and closed women’s bathhouses

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