Afghanistan

UAE condemns Taliban decision to ban women from working in NGOs across Afghanistan

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The UAE has condemned the Taliban’s decision to ban women from working in NGOs across Afghanistan, the country’s foreign ministry said on Monday.

Afghanistan’s economy ministry on December 24 ordered all non-governmental organizations (NGOs) not to let female staff work until further notice.

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Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and Representative of the UAE to the United Nations Lana Nusseibeh warned that “the decision will further impede the provision of humanitarian relief in the country and affect the most vulnerable in society, including women, children, and the elderly.”

She said that two-thirds of Afghanistan’s population is in need of humanitarian assistance, and six million people are at risk of starvation.

“Islam honors the role of women and upholds their rights,” Nusseibeh reportedly added.

The order does not apply directly to the United Nations, but many of its programs are carried out by local and international NGOs subject to the order

The latest statement comes only four days after the UAE denounced the Taliban-run government’s decision to suspend university access for female students.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and his counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, discussed the decision in a phone call, Emirates News Agency WAM reported last week.

The two top diplomats emphasized that Islam as a religion devoted significant attention to women, granted them a privileged position, and safeguarded their rights.

They affirmed the need to guarantee women's rights, as well as the importance of full and equal participation of women and girls in all aspects of life.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry also called on the Taliban to reverse the move.

On Monday, the acting head of the United Nations’ mission to Afghanistan told the Taliban administration’s acting economy minister to reverse the decision to ban female NGO workers during a meeting, according to a statement.

“Millions of Afghans need humanitarian assistance and removing barriers is vital,” UNAMA said in the statement, adding that UNAMA’s acting head and humanitarian coordinator Ramiz Alakbarov had met with Economy Minister Mohammad Hanif.

Afghanistan’s already struggling economy has tipped into crisis since the Taliban took over in 2021, with the country facing sanctions and cuts in development aid.

Humanitarian aid, aimed at meeting urgent needs, has provided a lifeline to millions of people. Over half of Afghanistan’s population are reliant on humanitarian aid, according to the International Rescue Committee.

Read more:

Fifth aid group suspends Afghan work after Taliban ban on women staff

UN official meets Taliban, urges reverse of NGO female worker ban

UAE, Pakistan, MWL denounce Taliban’s university ban for Afghan women

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