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The United Nations calls on the Taliban to drop “incomprehensible” restrictions on women

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The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights stressed on Tuesday that the Taliban must immediately rescind its policies targeting women and girls in Afghanistan, criticizing the “terrible” consequences.

“No country can develop – indeed survive – socially and economically while excluding half of its population,” Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement.

“These incomprehensible restrictions on women and girls will not only increase the suffering of all Afghans, but, I fear, will pose a danger beyond Afghanistan’s borders.”

He said the policies risked destabilizing Afghan society.

“I urge the de-facto authorities to ensure that the rights of all women and girls are respected and protected – to be seen, heard, to participate and contribute to all aspects of the country’s social, political and economic life,” Al-Turk said.

On Saturday, the Afghan Taliban government banned women from working in non-governmental organizations. The Taliban has already suspended university education for women and secondary education for girls.

Türk said: “This latest decree issued by the de facto authorities will have dire consequences for women and all Afghan people.”

“Preventing women from working in NGOs will deprive them and their families of their entry, and of their right to contribute positively to the development of their country and the well-being of their fellow citizens.”

The move is the latest blow against women’s rights in Afghanistan since the Taliban regained power last year.

“The ban will significantly impair, if not destroy” the ability of these NGOs to provide basic services, Türk said, calling this a further concern with Afghanistan in the midst of winter, when humanitarian needs are at their peak.

On Sunday, several foreign aid organizations announced the suspension of their operations in Afghanistan.

Women were also removed from many government jobs, forbidden to travel without a male relative and ordered to cover outside the home, ideally with a burqa, and not allowed into gardens.

The international community has made respect for women’s rights a sticking point in negotiations with the Taliban administration for recognition and the restoration of aid.

“Women and girls cannot be denied their inherent rights,” Turk said.

“Attempts by the de facto authorities to force them to remain silent and cover up will not succeed.”

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