Advertisement

UN condemns Taliban order to Afghan women about burqa

Raising concern over the hijab decision, United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in a statement said, "Information they have received suggests this is a formal directive rather than a recommendation, and that it will be implemented and enforced"

FPJ Web Desk | Updated on: Sunday, May 08, 2022, 09:54 AM IST

Afghan women and girls take part in a protest in front of the Ministry of Education in Kabul on March 26, 2022, demanding that high schools be reopened for girls | AFP
Afghan women and girls take part in a protest in front of the Ministry of Education in Kabul on March 26, 2022, demanding that high schools be reopened for girls | AFP
Advertisement

The Taliban decree for women to must cover their faces in public might further strain engagement with the international community.

Raising concern over the hijab decision, United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in a statement said, "Information they have received suggests this is a formal directive rather than a recommendation, and that it will be implemented and enforced," reported Pajhwok Afghan News.

"This decision contradicts numerous assurances regarding respect for and protection of all Afghans' human rights, including those of women and girls, that had been provided to the international community by Taliban representatives during discussions and negotiations over the past decade," added UNAMA.

UNAMA said that it will immediately request meetings with the Taliban de facto authorities to seek clarification on the status of this decision.

UNAMA will also engage in consultations with members of the international community regarding its implications, reported Pajhwok Afghan News.

The Taliban on Saturday ruled women must cover their faces in public, according to a decree from the group's supreme leader, calling the all-encompassing burqa the ideal face covering, reported Pajhwok Afghan News.

A decree from Taliban supreme leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhunzada was read out at a press conference in Kabul by a spokesman for the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.

A woman's father or closest male relative would be visited and eventually imprisoned or fired from government jobs if she did not cover her face outside the home, reported Pajhwok Afghan News.

"These assurances were repeated following the Taliban takeover in August 2021, that women would be afforded their rights, whether in work, education, or society at large," said UNAMA.

"The international community has been eager for signals that the Taliban are ready for positive relations with the wider world. The decision six weeks ago to postpone secondary schooling for Afghan girls was widely condemned internationally, regionally, and locally. Today's decision by the Taliban might further strain engagement with the international community," it added.

Most Muslims around the world do not consider covering the face to be a mandatory part of the religion, and, after seizing control of the country, the Taliban initially appeared to be adopting a more flexible attitude to governance.

In recent weeks, however, they have been introducing more hardline measures, many of them governing women's everyday lives - for example, assigning separate days for them to visit public parks to men, and barring them from undertaking longer distance journeys without a male guardian.

Teenage girls have still not been allowed back to school in most of the country, and whilst women are working in some sectors such as healthcare and education, many others have been told not to return to their offices.

Western diplomats have indicated that resuming development funding for the country - currently struggling with a dire economic crisis - is contingent on the Taliban's treatment of women.

When announcing this latest decree at the press conference, however, one cleric said the Taliban could never be pressured by the West into compromising on their beliefs.

In January, a group of 36 UN human rights experts said that Taliban leaders in Afghanistan are institutionalising large-scale and systematic gender-based discrimination and violence against women and girls.

“We are concerned about the continuous and systematic efforts to exclude women from the social, economic, and political spheres across the country,” the experts said in a statement.

A surprise U-turn in March in which the group shuttered girls’ high schools on the morning they were due to open drew the ire of the international community and prompted the United States to cancel planned meetings on easing the country’s financial crisis.

The country has been reeling from a humanitarian crisis with more than half of the population facing hunger. The Taliban has struggled to revive the aid-dependent economy, which is in freefall due to sanctions and exclusion from international financial institutions.

The US and other nations have cut development aid and enforced strict sanctions on the banking system since the Taliban took over in August, pushing the country towards economic ruin.

(with inputs from ANI)

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Advertisement
Published on: Sunday, May 08, 2022, 09:54 AM IST