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Senate Foreign Relations Committee: U.N. Must Help Women Under Taliban Rule

The U.N. is currently undecided on diplomatic representation for Afghanistan.
Women gather to demand their rights under the Taliban rule during a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan. AP
Women gather to demand their rights under the Taliban rule during a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan. AP

A bipartisan group of senators sent a letter last week to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres urging him to use the organization’s tools to liberate women and girls in Afghanistan.

“We urge you to ensure the UN response in Afghanistan protects and advances the human rights of women and girls now under attack,” wrote Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).

“The United Nations must remain steadfast in denying the illegitimate Taliban authorities the international recognition they so desperately seek, especially as they continue to abuse the human rights of Afghans,” the four lawmakers wrote in their letter, calling on Guterres to deny Taliban leadership a seat at the United Nations.

They referenced the meeting of the United Nations Credentials Committee taking place in September, which will decide on diplomatic representation for Afghanistan.

Since the Taliban returned to power last year, they have struggled to achieve foreign recognition and membership in international organizations. The United States and other western countries have typically demanded civil rights for women and ethnic minorities as a condition for normalization. The Taliban has maintained that their laws are consistent with Afghan and Islamic traditions, and thus have been resistant to changing them.

China, Russia, and Pakistan have maintained close contacts with the Taliban rulers, but they have all resisted any formal recognition of their government. A lack of international recognition has also made it more difficult for international aid organizations to address humanitarian problems that have intensified since the Taliban returned to power.

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