Bipartisan senators urge UN to help women under Taliban rule

A bipartisan group of senators last week sent a letter to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urging him to use the organization’s tools to free women and girls in Afghanistan.

“We urge you to ensure that the UN response to Afghanistan protects and promotes the human rights of the women and girls now under attack,” wrote Sens. Bob Menendez (DN.J.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Jeanne Shaheen (DN). .H.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).

The senators, all members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote as the first anniversary of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan approaches.

“As we approach the one-year anniversary of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, the Taliban continue to commit serious human rights violations against the Afghan people and have launched an assault on the fundamental human rights of Afghan women,” they wrote.

The Taliban rushed to overtake Kabul in May last year as US forces were withdrawing from Afghanistan under President Biden.

“The United Nations must remain steadfast in denying the illegitimate Taliban authorities the international recognition they so desperately seek, especially as they continue to abuse the human rights of Afghans,” the four lawmakers wrote in their letter, calling on Guterres to deny the Taliban leadership. headquarters at the United Nations.

They were referring to the United Nations Credentials Committee meeting to be held in September, which will decide on diplomatic representation for Afghanistan.

The four US leaders also asked Guterres to ensure that Afghan women are involved in all aspects of receiving aid in the country as well as in “political dialogue and negotiations”.

“We must not remain indifferent as the Taliban seek to erase the human rights of Afghan women and girls,” they said.

A report released Saturday by the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction found that the Taliban continue to prevent girls and women from getting an education and have placed additional restrictions on their freedoms.

“Combined with the veil mandate, the Taliban are restricting women’s freedom of movement. In March, the group banned women from traveling by air and long distances without a male guardian,” the report said.

The report urged the international community to provide aid to women and girls in Afghanistan and to put political pressure on the Taliban to change discriminatory policies.

Members of the Foreign Relations Committee asked the United Nations Security Council to ban members of the Taliban from traveling internationally, reimposing the 1988 ban.

Members of the Taliban have been allowed to travel under international law since an exemption came into effect in 2019 so leaders could attend peace talks, but those talks are no longer taking place.

“The United Nations is uniquely positioned to influence the Taliban without harming ordinary Afghans, and we urge you to use the tools already available to do so,” the senators wrote.

“We strongly urge the United Nations to prioritize and promote the human rights of women and girls in all aspects of its work in Afghanistan,” they added.

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