Sima Bahous, the Executive Director of UN Women, called upon the international community on Tuesday to persistently advocate for change in Afghanistan, accusing the Taliban of orchestrating “an extensive and unprecedented attack” on the rights of women and girls throughout the country since they regained control two years ago.
In a statement commemorating this period, Bahous emphasized that the Taliban had employed over 50 edicts, orders, and restrictions to impede various aspects of women’s lives, leaving no freedom unscathed. She described the resulting system as one of mass oppression against women, widely recognized as gender apartheid.
“I urge the Taliban to reconsider and to weigh the cost of these acts for Afghanistan’s present and future,” Bahous asserted.
Despite the challenges imposed by these measures, Bahous highlighted the resilience of Afghan women, who continue to resist oppression, raise their voices against violations, provide essential services, manage businesses, and lead women’s organizations.
Amidst these circumstances, Bahous called for increased support for Afghan women, including amplifying their voices, prioritizing their needs, funding necessary services, and bolstering their businesses and organizations.
She urged the international community to maintain the pressure for change by fully funding the humanitarian appeal for Afghanistan and using all available means to bring about meaningful transformation.
On the same occasion, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, reminded the de facto authorities of their responsibility to uphold the rights of all, particularly women and girls. UN human rights personnel are actively engaged in Afghanistan, monitoring, documenting, and advocating for various human rights issues, including fundamental freedoms, civilian protection in armed conflict, and detainees’ rights.
“We are engaging with the de facto authorities on these issues and remind them of their obligations under international human rights law,” stated Liz Throssell, a spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva.
The High Commissioner emphasized that the international community should not overlook the dire situation faced by all the people of Afghanistan.