Taliban’s restrictions on women’s rights will disintegrate the entire humanitarian situation in Afghanistan
Middle East and Human Rights Researcher
Global Human Rights Defence
On April 4th, The Taliban administration issued a ban on Afghan women who work for the United Nations in Afghanistan. This decision takes place after the Taliban stopped most women from working for humanitarian aid groups last December.
Since the Taliban took over the Western-backed government in 2021, they have restricted women’s and girls’ rights to education, crushed the system of protection and support for those fleeing domestic violence, detained women and girls for minor violations of discriminatory rules and greatly contributed to a surge in the rates of child and forced marriage in Afghanistan. 
Following this decision, the United Nations Security Council reacted to this ban by issuing a resolution drafted by the UAE and Japan for “full, equal, meaningful and safe participation of women and girls in Afghanistan”.  It also argues that this decision does not only erode basic rights but also “negatively and severely impact” the UN aid operations throughout the country “including the delivery of life-saving assistance and basic services to the most vulnerable”.
The UN resolution states that the Taliban’s decision will impact the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan because reducing women’s and girls’ rights will affect the entire population and will drive the country towards a humanitarian crisis. This will intensify food insecurity and malnutrition, while women’s access to basic rights, including health and education remains diminished.  This ban on UN workers will also significantly impact humanitarian assistance as the World Bank established the $1 billion fund from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund as an emergency support budget which is channelled through UN Agencies and implementing partners. 
The UN Security Council Resolution is effective in publicly conveying the message that this ban will lead to dull consequences on the entire humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. However, as often, it does not present any strong recommendations to reverse the policies. At this advanced stage of increasing restrictions on women’s rights, the international community should take a stand to allow all women to resume employment in NGOs and international organisations, and ensure women’s full civil rights across Afghanistan. 90 countries co-sponsored the resolution including many Arab nations, where the majority of the population is Muslim, and some from Afghanistan’s neighbourhood, therefore there is the potential for all states in the region to fully commit to the reversal of these restrictions.  Relying on a Western coalition to denounce the Taliban’s eradication of women's rights is not enough to produce a sharp change within the Taliban's de facto authorities. States in the region should take the lead in denouncing the Taliban authorities and pressure them to reverse their policies.
Sources and further readings:
 France 24. ‘UN Security Council unanimously condemns Taliban’s crackdown on women’s rights.’ (28 April 2023). <https://www.france24.com/en/americas/20230428-un-security-council-unanimously-condemns-taliban-s-crackdown-on-women-s-rights> accessed 10 May 2023.
 United Nations Security Council Resolution. Resolution 2681: Adopted by the Security Council at its 9314th meeting, on 27 April 2023. (27 April 2023). <https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N23/121/49/PDF/N2312149.pdf?OpenElemen> accessed 10 May 2023.
 Amnesty International. ‘Afghanistan: UN Security Council must take concrete steps to end the ‘systemic decimation’ of women and girls’ rights in the country.’ (2023) <https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/afghanistan-un-security-council-must-take-concrete-steps-end-systemic-decimation> accessed 10 May 2023.
 The World Bank. ‘Emergency Support for the People of Afghanistan.’ (9 September 2022). <https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/afghanistan/brief/afghanistan-emergency-support> accessed 10 May 2023.
 Edith M. Lederer. ‘UN urges Afghanistan’s Taliban to reverse bans on women.’ ABC News. (27 April 2023).
<https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/urges-afghanistans-taliban-reverse-bans-women-98920913> accessed 10 May 2023.
Amnesty International. ‘Afghanistan: UN Security Council resolution must be backed up by concerted action to restore the rights of women and girls.’ (2023) <https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2023/04/afghanistan-un-security-council-resolution-must-be-backed-up-by-concerted-action-to-restore-the-rights-of-women-and-girls/> accessed 10 May 2023.
Le Monde. ‘UN Security Council unanimously condemns Taliban’s treatment of women.’ (28 April 2023). <https://www.lemonde.fr/en/afghanistan/article/2023/04/28/un-security-council-unanimously-condemns-taliban-s-treatment-of-women_6024632_218.html> accessed 10 May 2023.
- J. Kremer III. ‘UN Security Council demands Taliban ‘swiftly reverse’ women bans’ Arab News. (28 April 2023).< https://www.arabnews.com/node/2294206/world> accessed 10 May 2023.
The World Bank. ‘Emergency Support for the People of Afghanistan.’ (9 September 2022). <https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/afghanistan/brief/afghanistan-emergency-support> accessed 10 May 2023.