On Friday, the Afghanistan Taliban dismissed the UN Security Council’s proposal to lift harsh restrictions on there women, calling their worries “unfounded.”
On Tuesday, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution condemning the Taliban for restricting girls’ and women’s access to school, government jobs, and freedom of movement since taking power last year.
Hibatullah Akhundzada, Afghanistan’s supreme leader, has also ordered women to cover themselves in public, even their faces, causing international uproar.
The Security Council’s 15 members urged the Taliban to “quickly alter the policies and practices that are now impeding Afghan women and girls’ human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
It also asked that the hardliners reopen all female-only schools.
The Afghan foreign ministry described the Security Council’s worries as “unfounded” and reaffirmed the government’s commitment to Afghan women’s rights.
“Because Afghanistan’s population is largely Muslim, the Afghan government believes Islamic hijab to be in line with society’s religious and cultural norms,” the ministry said in a statement.
The Taliban are devout Muslims who follow a strict interpretation of Islam.
Their previous tenure in power, from 1996 to 2001, was marred by human rights breaches, and while promising a kinder reign this time, they have steadily trampled on Afghan freedoms.
Afghan women and girls made limited achievements in regaining their rights throughout the two decades of US military engagement that followed the Taliban’s ouster in 2001.
At the end of a visit to Kabul on Thursday, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Afghanistan Richard Bennett claimed the Taliban’s restrictions were aimed at making women “invisible in society.”
No country has recognized the new Taliban government, and the authorities have so far been unsuccessful in assuming Afghanistan’s place on the United Nations Security Council.