MSF said that although its operations were not affected by the latest restriction on women’s rights, it “strongly condemns the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s erasure of women from social life in the country.”
Filipe Ribeiro, MSF’s representative in Afghanistan, said:
“In a country with a population which is confronted with rampant poverty, fuelled by skyrocketing unemployment, and is mostly dependent on humanitarian aid for survival, female workers play a critical role in providing humanitarian assistance and healthcare services. No organisation, however big or small, can deliver assistance to communities in need without women’s participation.
“The consequences of this latest decree will hit vulnerable groups the hardest, such as female patients and children, for whom it will become even more difficult, if not impossible, to see doctors. For the time being, all of our activities have been maintained, as our female colleagues continue to work unhindered in the health facilities managed by MSF and the Ministry of Health. This must not change; prohibiting women from working would effectively prevent them from accessing healthcare.”
Filipe Ribeiro further adds:
“If women are prevented from working in health facilities, and if women can only be treated by women, then it will be virtually impossible for them to access healthcare.”
In a ruling on 24 December 2022, the Taliban banned women from working for NGOs, following an earlier order banning women from universities.