Photo: UAE Mission to the UN via X

UNSC Calls for Immediate Rescindment of Taliban’s Gender Discrimination 

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN – The majority of UN Security Council member states strongly condemned the Taliban’s ongoing gender discrimination and oppression against women and girls in Afghanistan, urging the immediate rescindment of all policies and decrees targeting them.

In a joint statement on Monday, February 26, ahead of the UNSC meeting on Afghanistan, representatives of 11 member states, including the US, UK, France, and Japan, underscored that women and girls must have full exercise of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Russia, China, and two other members of the UNSC refrained from endorsing the statement.

“We reaffirm the indispensable role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, in peace-building, and in humanitarian response, and emphasize that women’s equal partnership in the development, economy and political processes in Afghanistan is critical to progress,” part of their statement reads.

For over two years following their takeover of Afghanistan, the Taliban have carried out a relentless and all-encompassing attack on the human rights of women and girls, regulating and limiting virtually every aspect of their lives. 

Women who dare to protest against Taliban violations face dire consequences, including forced disappearance, arbitrary detention, and torture. 

UNSC member states said that Afghanistan is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and various human rights conventions. Thus, it must uphold its international obligations.

The Security Council held a closed-door session on Afghanistan on Monday, February 26, with the participation of the UN Secretary-General, who was expected to deliver a report on the situation in Afghanistan and the recent UN-chaired meeting of special envoys to Afghanistan in Doha, Qatar.

Neither the UN nor any participating party has given out any information about the meeting yesterday in New York. However, earlier, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) had criticized the closed-door nature of the proceeding. 

In a social media post on Sunday, Heather Barr, Associate Director of Women’s Rights at HRW, urged the UNSC and the UN to cease convening closed-door meetings on Afghanistan. She emphasized that Afghans, particularly women and girls facing Taliban threats, have a right to be informed about the discussions and decisions being made.

Meanwhile, the council members emphasized that in the meeting, they will once again insist on advocating for Afghan women’s equal, meaningful, and safe participation and leadership at all levels and stages of decision-making. These include within mechanisms aimed at advancing international engagement on Afghanistan.

“There must be accountability for human rights abuses and crimes against women and girls,” UNSC member states said. “We, the signatories of the WPS [Women, Peace, and Security] Shared Commitments, remain fully committed to improving the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan,” they added.