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Report reveals harassment and detention of Afghan women employed by UN

AFGHAN women employed by the United Nations have been detained, harassed and had restrictions placed on their movements since being banned by the Taliban from working for the organisation, the UN said today.

Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers said last month that women employed with the UN mission to the country should no longer report for work.

“This is the most recent in a series of discriminatory and unlawful measures implemented by the de facto authorities with the goal of severely restricting women and girls’ participation in most areas of public and daily life in Afghanistan,” the UN said in a report on human rights in the country.

The report said that Taliban authorities have continued this year to crack down on anyone who speaks out on issues related to the rights of women and girls.

The report by the world body also cited the arrest in March of four women during a protest demanding access to education and work in the capital of Kabul and the arrest of Matiullah Wesa, head of PenPath, a civil society organisation campaigning for the reopening of girls’ schools.

The four were released the following day.

It also pointed to the arrest of women’s rights activist Parisa Mobariz and her brother in February in the northern Takhar province.

Several other civil society activists have been released, reportedly without being charged, following extended periods of arbitrary detention, the report said.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said that the measures will have disastrous effects on Afghanistan’s prospects for prosperity, stability and peace.

The Taliban previously banned girls from going to school beyond Year Six and blocked women from most areas of public life and work. 

In December, they banned Afghan women from working at local and non-governmental organisations, a measure that at the time did not extend to UN offices.

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