Security Council Pressures Taliban on Women's Rights

Unanimous vote calls for reversal of prohibitions on employment, education
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2023 6:10 PM CDT
Security Council Pressures Taliban on Women's Rights
Afghan schoolgirls attend their classroom on the first day of the new school year in Kabul on March 25. High school remained closed for girls, for the second year after the Taliban's return to power.   (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

The Taliban's systematic discrimination against women and girls in Afghanistan has brought a rare instance of unanimity to the UN Security Council. A resolution approved Thursday condemns the bias and demands Afghanistan's leaders overturn their policies prohibiting the education, employment, and full public participation of women and girls. "The world will not stand by silently as the women of Afghanistan are erased from society," said Lana Nusseibeh, the United Arab Emirates' ambassador to the UN. She called the resolution an "unequivocal message of condemnation."

The resolution is legally binding under international law. The measure doesn't say what any punishment for violations might be, but in most cases, the Security Council can impose sanctions on governments that do not comply with its resolutions. The Taliban has increasingly limited the rights of girls and women since taking power in August 2021. In the past year, their education after sixth grade has been prohibited. The Taliban also prohibits the UN from employing women in Afghanistan, which increased pressure for a binding UN resolution, per the AP.

Diplomats told the Times that UN negotiations over the resolution were lengthy. Still, it received all 15 votes, getting the US, China, and Russia to agree on something in the final days of Russia's Security Council presidency, a post that rotates. More than 90 nations cosponsored the measure, which calls on all nations to pressure the Taliban for change. "We will not stand for the Taliban's repression if women and girls," Robert Wood, US deputy ambassador, told the council. (More Taliban stories.)

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