UN chief slams ‘broken’ Taliban promises made to women, girls
October 12, 2021 8:31 am
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has slammed the Taliban’s “broken” promises to Afghan women and girls, and urged the world to inject cash into Afghanistan in order to prevent its economic collapse.
“I am particularly alarmed to see promises made to Afghan women and girls by the Taliban being broken,” he told reporters on Monday in New York.
“I strongly appeal to the Taliban to keep their promises to women and girls and fulfil their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law.”
Millions of teenage girls across Afghanistan still await to return to school, while the Taliban allowed boys to attend classes last month. The move has raised concerns about the future of female education under the Taliban, who have pledged to uphold the rights of girls and women in the country when they took over power in August.
The exclusion of girls at this time has aggravated fears that the Taliban could be returning to their hardline rule of the 1990s. During that time, women and girls were legally barred from education and employment.
The group has also named an all-male cabinet, and said that women could be included later.
Guterres said he is “alarmed” to see promises “be broken”, adding that gender equality is a priority for him.
“Broken promises leads to broken dreams for the women and girls of Afghanistan,” the UN chief said. “Women and girls need to be in the centre of attention,” he added.
In his address, Guterres also urged the international community to “inject liquidity into the Afghan economy to avoid collapse”.
“We need to find ways to help the economy breathe again … And this can be done without violating international laws,” he said.
Al Jazeera’s James Bays, reporting from New York, said the timing of the UN chief’s remarks is “very important” as member states of the Group of 20 (G20) are expected to hold an extraordinary session “in the next 24 hours”.
The G20 is not going to “actually handover the [frozen] assets of Afghanistan … and give that to the Taliban government,” Bays said.
The UN is working on a different plan to try and inject money into the Afghan economy by using “trust funds … one from the world bank, one from the UN Development Program,” among others, Bays said.
“They’ll put the money into those trust funds and that money … will be used to pay for vital supplies, used for salaries of medical workers, used for teachers,” he added.
“That’s what the Secretary General is working on, and that’s what he’s trying to persuade the countries of the G20 to support.”