Taliban curbs on women’s rights continue in Afghanistan: UN

UNITED NATIONS, Jun 13 (APP): Almost three years after the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan, women’s rights continue to be under attack, the United Nations said on Thursday.

UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) spokesperson Liz Throssell revealed that in its latest act of disempowerment, the Taliban have told women civil servants prohibited from working that despite qualifications or experience, their salaries will now be cut to the lowest level.

The Taliban overtook Kabul in August 2021.

According to Ms. Throssell, authorities had told women they could return to work when “the necessary conditions” are in place, yet women have not received any information on when that might be.

But three years on, the UN said, steps to allow women civil servants to all return to the workplace have not been taken.

“This latest discriminatory and profoundly arbitrary decision further deepens the erosion of human rights in Afghanistan, following decisions to restrict women and girls’ access to education and employment, limit their freedom of movement, and curtail their presence in public spaces, effectively entrenching the exclusion of women from public life,” Ms. Spokesperson Throssell said.

Thursday also marks 1,000 days since the Taliban banned education for girls beyond the sixth grade – a “sad and sobering milestone”, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Executive Director Catherine Russell said “For 1.5 million girls, this systematic exclusion is not only a blatant violation of their right to education but also results in dwindling opportunities and deteriorating mental health” in a public statement.

Ms. Russell said that education not only provides opportunities but it “protects girls from early marriage, malnutrition and other health problems, and bolsters their resilience to disasters like the floods, drought, and earthquakes that frequently plague Afghanistan.”

UN Women recently reported that this ban on education is related to a 25 per cent increase in child marriage rates and a 45 per cent increase in early childbearing rates.

The UNICEF chief said the agency is working extensively to support all children in Afghanistan.

As human rights continue to be violated in Afghanistan, UN rights experts are calling on the Taliban to provide medical aid for United States national Ryan Corbett who is being held in detention.

Corbett was detained in 2022 when he travelled to Afghanistan to do humanitarian work and has been held captive since, it was pointed out.

His mental and physical health has severely declined and Alice Jill Edwards, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel treatment, said he must be given medical treatment “in a civilian hospital without delay”.

She said conditions in detention were “utterly inadequate and substantially below international standards.”