New York, 6 April 2023 (TDI): Catherine Russell, Executive Director of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) delivered a strong statement following the Taliban’s decision to ban women from working with the United Nations (UN).
The Director called it a dangerous decision as it will potentially cost children lives. Catherine Russell stated that Afghanistan is mired in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis at the moment.
The crisis has affected more than 28 million people, including over 15 million children in dire need of protection and humanitarian assistance.,
The year 2022 witnessed a staggering increase of 4 million people. The constant threat of hunger and disease is looming along with the economy in a tailspin.
Despite the devastating on-ground realities of Afghanistan, the de facto authorities have taken the irresponsible decision to ban Afghan women from working with the United Nations, including UNICEF.
The unconscionable decision is hostile to women’s fundamental rights. It further undermines the delivery of humanitarian assistance across the country.
Afghan women are at the forefront of humanitarian response. They are highly skilled and remarkably able to reach the most vulnerable Afghans including children and women, the sick and elderly as well as those with disabilities.
Afghan women can easily access the population that their male counterparts cannot reach. They have apt knowledge about nutrition, and community health as well as excel in areas of social work, teaching, vaccinating, nursing, doctors & much beyond.
UNICEF has one of the largest operations in Afghanistan. It is aiming to reach 19 million Afghans with essential services this year. UNICEF is providing treatment to malnourished children.
Furthermore, it is also providing warm clothes and clean drinking water to the communities alongside getting life-saving vaccines and other supplies to medical centers.
Catherine Russell stated that “Female workers are vital to the success of our work. Without them, the humanitarian disaster unfolding inside Afghanistan will intensify, and more children will die.”
The UNICEF and UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the authorities for their unreasonable decision.
They urged them to revoke the decisions and reverse all measures that restrict women and girls’ rights to work, education, and freedom of movement.