The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Thursday raised serious concerns about the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan.
OCHA said the Afghan girls and women are deprived of basic rights. “The fundamental rights of Afghan women and girls are under attack,” OCHA said. It also said Afghan women and girls need the UN’s support and solidarity now more than ever.
According to the UN office, humanitarian organizations must aim to scale up assistance to women and girls by providing food, healthcare, education, livelihood opportunities and protection services.
OCHA said 11.8 million women and girls need urgent humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan.
OCHA’s tweet follows a gathering of women activists in Kabul on Wednesday night who lit candles during a demonstration. The women said they stayed awake all night and “lit candles for freedom.”
Zabihullah Mujahid, the Islamic Emirate spokesman, reacted to the UN’s remarks, calling them baseless. Mujahid in a tweet said that since the Islamic Emirate has been in power, all the people enjoy rights and the UN report on women’s rights is based on “false information.”
Meanwhile, dozens of women held a rally in the capital city of Kabul on Wednesday, calling on the Islamic Emirate to not exclude women from the government’s structure.
Some of the women were working in the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission but they lost their jobs after the Islamic Emirate swept into power in mid-August.
“We the women working in the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission, and the 28 percent active force of the government department, have suffered major damage with the fall of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban’s ruling on government departments on August 15th , 2021,” said Ferozan Amiri, a protestor.
The activists released a resolution comprised of five points.
The resolution called for the allowance of female employees to work, women’s meaningful inclusion in the government’s decision-making body about women’s affairs, the formation of policies to support women’s rights, the preservation of posts which were occupied by women, and the creation of a safe environment for women.
“Women are concerned over the fate of jobs in the (Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission). You know, this institution is neutral. Around 28 percent of the civil service is filled by women,” said Khujusta Ilham, head of the Hemayat Az Zanan Khidmat Mulki.
Officials within the Islamic Emirate said that there has been no decision to exclude women from the government structure.
“The issue of women’s working activity in (government) departments is under discussion. After an assessment, if the women’s presence is needed in any department, they (women) will be working in the same posts and the same departments,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.
To consider the recognition of the current Afghan government, the international community requires the observation of human rights, women rights, and the formation of an inclusive government.—Agencies