Photo: Foreign Ministry of Mongolia

Six female foreign ministers call on the Taliban to lift restrictions on women

The foreign ministers of France, Germany, Indonesia, Liechtenstein, Mongolia and South Africa have urged the Taliban to remove restrictions on women and girls in Afghanistan.

In a joint statement on Friday at the conclusion of the two-day Female Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, they call for “the full, equal, meaningful and safe participation of women and girls in Afghanistan.”

The Taliban, they said, should “swiftly reverse the policies and practices that restrict the enjoyment by women and girls of their human rights and fundamental freedoms including related to their access to education, employment, freedom of movement.”

They also called on other countries and international organizations to use their influence, in conformity with the United Nations Charter, to promote an urgent reversal of the Taliban’s restrictions.

Since returning to power in August 2021, the Taliban has imposed severe restrictions on women and girls, including bans on secondary and higher education and their rights to work. And despite international condemnations, the group has refused to reverse its policies.

The group’s supreme leader, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, in his Eid message on 25 June, claimed that his group had freed women from “traditional oppressions”.

In February this year, female foreign ministers from 16 countries around the world had also demanded the removal of Taliban-imposed restrictions on Afghanistan’s women and girls.