UN urges travel ban on Taliban leadership over oppression of women | Afghanistan

Human rights groups are urging the United Nations to end the Trump-era waiver that would allow members of the Taliban most responsible for the oppression of women in Afghanistan to travel abroad.

In a test of the international community’s willingness to isolate the Taliban, critics argue that Taliban members who restrict women’s right to leave their homes inside Afghanistan should at least prevent them from leaving their country.

The United Nations has imposed wide-ranging sanctions on the Taliban, but the Security Council is set to debate next week whether to impose a travel ban on all of its leading members as a way of signaling that the Taliban’s path to international recognition, let alone legitimacy, is off-limits. As long as it continues its path of taking women out of public life and teenage girls out of secondary education.

The travel ban expires automatically on June 20 unless the United Nations renews it, and key figures in the US administration want not only to renew it, but to extend it. But there is still no official position of the United States.

Currently, only 41 members of the Taliban administration are affected by the travel ban after it was partially suspended three years ago to allow 14 members to participate in peace talks.

Heather Barr, of Human Rights Watch, says that at least three individuals should have a travel ban: Abdelhak Wathiq, the head of the intelligence service; Sheikh Muhammad Khalid Hanafi, Head of the Ministry of Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil. Wahibullah Akhundzadeh, the Taliban’s top religious leader, who is reported to have played a crucial role in extending the ban on girls’ secondary education.

She said, “It is a mistaken binary to say that ending the travel ban waiver means abandoning the involvement of the Taliban. It is time for governments to turn the consensus that the Taliban’s actions are illegal into coordinated actions that show the Taliban that the world is ready to stand up for the rights of Afghans, especially women and girls, in targeted ways.

Former Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström backed the move, saying, “The longstanding UN travel ban on Taliban leaders is a concession to some of them. Meanwhile, Afghan women can barely leave their homes. The travel waiver should not be renewed without Terms: Real progress for Afghan women and girls.”

Annie Pforzheimer, the former deputy chief of the US mission in Kabul, also urged the State Department to act. “The suspension of the travel ban has allowed the Taliban to pursue the diplomatic recognition it craves, leading to the creeping normalization of an authoritarian and extremist movement that other groups will follow.”

Critics say the Taliban are using foreign visits to mislead diplomats about the Taliban’s potential pluralistic path, and it is critical that the international community does not favor engagement in its own interest. Prominent Taliban figures were last seen in St Petersburg for the International Economic Forum hosted by Vladimir Putin.

Asila Wardak, an Afghan women’s rights activist and former diplomat, said: “We’re talking about a Taliban travel ban, well, the real travel ban is on Afghan women who are barely allowed out of their homes. But with that, the Taliban have all the travel benefits they want in spite of that. “.

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Norway’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Henrik Thun, said in a statement: “The waiver of the travel ban is first and foremost a tool to facilitate contact with the de facto authorities. In our opinion, this remains crucial if we are to influence the course of Afghanistan’s future.” Norway is a member of the United Nations Security Council and pen holder for the Afghan file at the United Nations, so its voice matters.

Edicts restricting women’s rights are flowing in from the Afghan government. Most recently, on May 17, the Taliban dissolved the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, cutting off a critical source of support for Afghans facing violations of their human rights, including women and girls who are subjected to gender-based violence.

Nine days later, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan concluded his mission by describing the latest measures as “fitting a pattern of absolute gender segregation…which aims to make women invisible in society”.

Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, did not comment on the ban in her speech to the UN Human Rights Council, but said: “What we are witnessing today in Afghanistan is the systematic and systematic persecution of women. Restriction of the freedom of movement of women negatively affects almost all aspects of their lives, Including the ability of women and their children to access and participate in health services, livelihoods and humanitarian assistance.”

The Human Rights Council has not yet decided whether to hold a special session devoted to discrimination faced by Afghan women, but there is pressure from Afghan civil society to move forward, possibly in the week of July 4.

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