UN Assures Continuation of Support to Afghan Women

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet Friday expressed concerns over the uncertainty of the Afghan women under the Taliban rule, saying “basic human rights like education, the right to work and the right to participate in decision-making processes are largely unfulfilled.”

Bachelet who visited Kabul said that women must have equal rights to demonstrate peacefully without fear of reprisal and to speak openly about the problems in society.

Bachelet said she met with representatives of the de facto authorities and was able to meet civil society representatives, including women teachers, doctors, journalists, civil servants, and NGO workers.

During the conversation, Bachelet said the Afghan women conveyed the urgency of the situation on the ground, asking for a chance to meet with the Taliban leaders to help chart a way out of this economic, humanitarian, and human rights crisis in Afghanistan.

“The Afghan women want to meet directly with the Taliban officials. They expressed the hope that as they emerge from the ashes of war, one day, social justice will be maintained in Afghanistan,” Bachelet added.

According to Bachelet, during meetings with the Afghan women, they vowed to continue to struggle against injustice but stressed that they needed their rights back. “They want back their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, to freedom from fear of reprisals for themselves and their families, and the right to work,” Bachelet added.

They also asked for the de facto authorities to ensure the protection of women activists and journalists from violence and reprisals, and the re-establishment of mechanisms to prevent and address gender-based violence.

Echoing the Afghan women’s legal demands, Bachelet said that “every society is more sustainable and peaceful if human rights are respected and all the people of the nation are represented, including religious and ethnic minorities and in particular those who have historically faced discrimination, marginalization, and violence.”

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