Qatar expresses deep concern over banning Afghan women from working in NGOs

Qatar has expressed its deep concern over the Taliban’s decision to ban Afghan women from working in local and foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and stressed the need to respect women’s right to work.

In a statement on Sunday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also stressed that the freedom to choose and accept work is a human right recognized by international covenants and committed to by all countries of the world.

Qatar also called on the Taliban to review its decision to enable women to work in the various jobs available to them in the organizations in a way that helps the distribution and flow of humanitarian aid to the Afghan people.

Meanwhile, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation said the fundamental rights of Afghan women have been dealt yet another severe blow following the order issued on 24 December 2022 by the Taliban’s Ministry of Economy in Kabul to all national and international NGOs to suspend the jobs of female employees until further announcement.

The OIC Secretary-General qualified the ban on women’s work for national and international NGOs as self-defeating and disserving the interests of Afghan people, vigorously calling on the de facto authorities to revisit this decision for the sake of social inclusion of #women and the undisrupted continuation of the much-needed international #humanitarian safety net in Afghanistan.

The move by the Taliban triggered global reactions with the US special envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West, calling it a “profoundly irresponsible” decision.

Following the decision, three foreign aid groups said Sunday that they are suspending their operations in Afghanistan for now after the Taliban barred all NGOs from employing female staff.

“We cannot effectively reach children, women and men in desperate need in Afghanistan without our female staff,” aid organizations Save the Children, Norwegian Refugee Council and CARE International said in a joint statement Sunday.

“Without women driving our response, we would not have jointly reached millions of Afghans in need since August 2021. Beyond the impact on delivery of lifesaving assistance, this will affect thousands of jobs in the midst of an enormous economic crisis,” said the statement, which was signed by the heads of the three NGOs.

“Whilst we gain clarity on this announcement, we are suspending our programs, demanding that men and women can equally continue our lifesaving assistance in Afghanistan,” the statement added.

This comes after the Taliban on Saturday ordered all local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to stop their female employees from coming to work.