March 4. 2024. 7:03

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UK FM, EU top diplomat urge Taliban to remove restrictions on women

The Taliban should reverse restrictions on women’s rights and freedoms, according to a joint statement released by the foreign ministers of 23 countries and EU Chief Diplomat Josep Borrell.

The foreign ministers of Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Qatar, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the UAE, the UK, and the US and the High Representative of the EU signed the joint statement which was published on Wednesday.

They are urging the Taliban to reverse decisions and practices that restrict women and girls’ exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Afghanistan, the statement writes.

“We fear that the Taliban will implement further measures restricting women and girls’ exercise of civil, political, economic, cultural, and social rights, with a dire impact on the future of Afghanistan and its people,” the statement added.

Despite promising a softer rule when they seized power last year, the hardline Islamists have ratcheted up restrictions on all aspects of women’s lives, ignoring international outrage. In December, Taliban rulers banned young girls from higher education in another assault on human rights.

“Unless reversed, the harmful effects of these reprehensible measures will be devastating and irreparable for Afghanistan’s economy and society – effects that will be felt by every Afghan,” read the statement.

(Sofia Stuart Leeson |