New York, 20 September 2023 (TDI): At the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the coalition of twelve nations united against gender-based discrimination against women and girls in Afghanistan.
These include Albania, Belgium, Cabo Verde, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, and Spain.
Expressing grave concern, the Ministers stressed that Afghanistan has witnessed the institutionalization of gender-based persecution since the Taliban’s return to power in August 2021.
Furthermore, over the past two years, women and girls have been progressively excluded from public life through a series of discriminatory decrees aimed at them. The scale of gender-based discrimination and violence in Afghanistan is deeply troubling.
According to UN Women, nearly one out of every two women has experienced domestic physical or sexual violence within the last year. The impact on the mental well-being of these women and girls is devastating.
In unison, the coalition vehemently condemned the Taliban’s decisions that blatantly violate human rights and freedoms.
They particularly called out the ban on Afghan women working for international organizations like the United Nations (UN) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Moreover, the ban severely disrupts the efficient delivery of essential humanitarian aid and basic services, imperiling the lives of millions of Afghans, especially those in women-led households.
The Ministers emphasized that discrimination against women in Afghanistan is not isolated but systematic and systemic.
They characterized the Taliban’s measures to marginalize women from Afghan society as unparalleled worldwide, possibly constituting gender persecution and a crime against humanity.
Urgent call to action
Urgently, they called upon the Taliban to immediately lift these restrictions. They also urged the Taliban to adhere to humanitarian principles and halt the infringing of human rights and freedoms.
The coalition demands that women and girls have access to public life and fundamental rights, including the Right to work and education.
Furthermore, the coalition insisted on the reinstatement of civic space. This would allow non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations, human rights defenders, journalists, and media workers to operate without hindrance.
Additionally, recognizing that sustainable peace, stability, and prosperity in Afghanistan hinges on inclusivity, the ministers underscored the necessity of an inclusive and representative political process.
This process should guarantee the full participation of all Afghans. These encompass women, girls, and individuals from diverse ethnic, religious, and minority backgrounds.
The coalition reminded Afghanistan of its obligations as a State party to international instruments concerning human rights and fundamental freedoms. They also recalled the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
In harmony, the Ministers stood by the Afghan people. They emphasized the resilience and rights of women and girls who bear a disproportionate burden of ongoing discrimination.