UNHCR calls on Taliban to reverse ban on women humanitarian workers

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, joined on Thursday the heads of other humanitarian organizations in calling on Afghanistan’s de facto authorities to reverse its directive that restricts women from working with non-governmental organizations.  

“Preventing women from humanitarian work is a grave denial of their humanity. It will only result in further suffering and hardship for all Afghans, especially women and children. This ban must be lifted,” said Grandi.

More than 500 women staff work with UNHCR’s 19 NGO partners in Afghanistan, serving nearly a million women and girls. The most recent restrictions will force the UN Refugee Agency to temporarily stop critical activities in support of Afghan people, especially women and children, according to the UNHCR.

Across Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, women have been actively leading and engaging in the humanitarian response, enabling UNHCR to reach over six million Afghans since August 2021. With so many other restrictions on women, this new decree will have a devastating impact on Afghanistan’s population, comprising an estimated 40 million people.

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