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UNHCR: Taliban’s statements on Afghan women rights contradict reality

UNHCR chief claimed that as Taliban's statements on Afghan women rights contradict reality, their other pledges need to be taken with a metaphorical grain of salt. She highlights their ethnic Pashtun dominated cabinet and zero women representation as evidence to prove her statement.

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UNHCR chief claimed that Taliban’s statements on Afghan women rights contradict reality as the group, now in power, is not standing true to its words. On Monday, United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) chief Michelle Bachelet in Geneva criticized that Taliban’s conservative and narrow-minded approach towards women rights and questioned the credibility of their words about securing fundamental women rights in their new regime.

She added that Taliban’s record since they seized power bear testimony to the fact that nothing much is going to change much and their stated commitments do not match ground realities in Afghanistan. The news circulating about Taliban beating Afghan journalists severely and four documented deaths in response to their violent crackdown on protestors do not paint a good picture of their governance. And in the backdrop of violence and suppressing dissent, status of Afghan women does not look much promising, Bachelet adds.

Read more: Taliban’s new interim government gets criticized by UN rights chief

Equitable Afghan women rights are far from reach, UNHCR chief 

Michelle Bachelet told the Human Rights Council in Geneva, that Afghanistan was in a “new and perilous phase” with many women and members of ethnic groups and religious communities deeply concerned for their rights.

“Importantly, and in contradiction to assurances that the Taliban would uphold women’s rights, over the past three weeks, women have instead been progressively excluded from the public sphere,” she said in her speech.

Read more: Afghan female journalist who interviewed Taliban flees Afghanistan

Afghan cabinet is not inclusive, UNHCR

In addition to Taliban’s contradictory stance towards Afghan women rights, Bachelet expressed dismay at the composition of the Taliban’s new government, noting the absence of women and its ethnic Pashtun dominated Afghan cabinet. She added that Taliban’s claim that they would pitch for an inclusive representation of all ethnic groups and local stakeholders is again contradictory given the fact that the new cabinet reflects old wine in new bottle.

She pointed to other broken pledges on granting amnesty to former civil servants and security officers linked to the previous government and prohibiting house-to-house searches. As Taliban’s statements on Afghan women rights contradict reality, their other pledges and vows should be taken with a metaphorical grain of salt, the UNHCR chief comments.

Yet the world has to still see and monitor Taliban’s actions with scrutiny as they can only attain international recognition if they stay true to their statements. Only time will tell.

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