The UN Security Council on Tuesday called on the Taliban to “swiftly reverse” policies restricting human rights and freedoms for Afghan women, in a unanimously adopted statement.
The move comes just days after female TV presenters were ordered to cover up fully, including their faces, the latest in a slew of Taliban restrictions on civil society, many of which are focused on women and girls.
In the text drafted by Norway, the council’s 15 member states said they were particularly concerned with the Taliban’s “imposition of restrictions that limit access to education, employment, freedom of movement, and women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in public life.”
The council said it called on the Taliban “to swiftly reverse the policies and practices which are currently restricting the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Afghan women and girls.”
It demanded the Taliban re-open schools for all female students without further delay and expressed “deep concern” over the announcement that women must cover their faces in public, including on television broadcasts.
According to diplomats, negotiations on the text, which lasted nearly two weeks, hit road bumps when China and Russia objected to a focus on human rights.
Consequently, the document also includes paragraphs expressing “deep concern regarding the volatile situation in Afghanistan” in terms of humanitarian, political, economic, social and security issues.
In particular, the text cites drug trafficking and terrorist attacks targeting civilians, in addition to the need to restore the country’s financial and banking systems.