By Janet Ekstract
UNITED NATIONS – On Tuesday, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) admonished the Taliban government’s education ban for girls and women in Afghanistan, urging them to reverse the decision.
In a formal statement, the 15-member council expressed grave concern over the most recent ban and subsequent, systematic withdrawal of rights for all females in Afghanistan.
The UNSC denounced the suspension of schools beyond the sixth grade and demanded the full equal and meaningful participation of girls and women in Afghan society. Prior to the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan on August 15, 2021, women and girls were attending schools and universities as well as holding significant positions in public life.
Some Afghan women have taken to the streets in protest against the ban where the Taliban used water cannons to disperse protesters. According to UN aid chief Martin Griffith, 97 percent of Afghans now live in poverty.
Previously, the Taliban had pledged they would preserve the rights of women and girls but have broken their promises to the international community. Currently, Griffiths told the UNSC that 20 million in Afghanistan face acute hunger.
Even more worrisome, are reports that the Taliban have banned female employees from continuing their work at NGOs and international organizations which the Council has warned will lead to a humanitarian crisis.
The UNSC said this ban “represents an increasing erosion” of the fundamental human rights and freedoms of girls and women and urged the Taliban to immediately reverse such restrictive policies.