Afghanistan – Joint Statement by Foreign Ministers on the Taliban’s Ban on Afghan Women Working for National and International NGOs (28 December 2022)

The Foreign Ministers of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States and the High Representative of the European Union are deeply concerned that the Taliban’s reckless and dangerous order to bar female employees in national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from the workplace endanger millions of Afghans who depend on humanitarian aid for survival. We call on the Taliban to reverse this decision as soon as possible.

Women are absolutely central in humanitarian and basic needs operations. Unless they participate in aid delivery in Afghanistan, NGOs will not be able to reach the country’s most vulnerable people to provide food, medicine, winter shelter and other materials and services they need to live. This will also affect the humanitarian assistance provided by international organizations as international organizations use NGOs to provide such materials and services.

The Taliban continue to show their contempt for the rights, freedoms and welfare of the Afghan people, especially women and girls, and their disinterest in normal relations with the international community.

We support the Afghan people’s calls for girls and women to return to work, school and university, and for women to continue to play a significant role in the delivery of humanitarian aid and basic needs, and we urge the Taliban to respect the political, economic, social and cultural rights of women and girls in Afghanistan.

To this end, we are in close contact with the UN, which, also on behalf of all international donors, is calling on the Taliban to reverse this decision immediately. This would avoid any disruption and enable the continuation of humanitarian operations by all international and national NGOs.

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