Photo: OSCE/Micky Kroell

OSCE Calls for Supporting Women’s Rights in Taliban-Controlled Afghanistan

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) calls for sustained and practical support for the fundamental rights of women and girls in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

In a meeting held in Vienna, Austria, on Monday, June 3, representatives and experts from various countries discussed the significant challenges faced by Afghan women and the global implications of their plight.

According to the statement released after the meeting, participants highlighted the severe challenges Afghan women face in accessing education, healthcare, and employment, as well as the impact of these issues on regional security.

“The speakers underscored the importance of international efforts to empower Afghan women and promote gender equality as essential components of sustainable development and peace,” part of the statement reads.

“The meeting concluded with a call for continued action and solidarity from the international community to support Afghan women and girls. By sharing best practices and reinforcing collaborative efforts, the OSCE and its partners can help foster a brighter and more equitable future for all,” the statement added.

Since their return to power, the Taliban have steadily imposed repressive measures against women and girls in Afghanistan. Under their rule, women are prohibited from working in the public sector and for NGOs, pursuing secondary and university education, traveling long distances without male relatives, and accessing parks, public baths, and gyms.

According to the UN, approximately 80% of school-age girls, totaling over 2.5 million, and more than 100,000 female university students are prohibited from receiving education in Afghanistan.

UN experts, legal scholars, and activists all say that the Taliban’s oppression of women and girls amounts to a system of apartheid, designed to deliberately subjugate them based solely on their gender.

Last month, following her trip to Afghanistan, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo said that Afghan women are seeking global support to realize their rights.

“Women I met in Kabul told me of their aspirations and dreams: the same education afforded to men, equal employment opportunities and freedom to choose their futures,” the UN senior official said. “They look to the global community to support them in realizing their rights – so that they can contribute to their country’s future,” she added.

Despite substantial calls and pressure from the majority of the world, including Islamic countries and organizations, for the Taliban to uphold the fundamental rights of women and girls, the fundamentalist regime argues that their policies and practices are grounded in Islamic Sharia law and Afghan traditions. The Taliban claim that human rights and equality are Western concepts that clash with Islamic principles.