UNSC expresses concern over increasing erosion of respect for human rights and freedoms of women in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan

The United Nations Security Council called on the Taliban to “swiftly reverse” policies restricting human rights and freedoms for Afghan women, in a unanimously adopted statement amid fears the Taliban was setting the clock back on women’s rights.

The move on Tuesday comes just days after female TV presenters were ordered to cover up fully, including their faces, the latest in 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.

The Taliban had promised media freedom and women’s rights upon their return to power but instead, they have gradually expanded curbs, particularly on women, with high schools for girls yet to open more than eight months since their takeover.

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