UNAMA statement on the hijab directive by Taliban authorities
KABUL - UNAMA is deeply concerned with today’s announcement by the Taliban de facto authorities that all women must cover their faces in public, that women should only leave their homes in cases of necessity, and that violations of this directive will lead to the punishment of their male relatives. Information that UNAMA has received suggests this is a formal directive rather than a recommendation, and that it will be implemented and enforced.
This decision contradicts numerous assurances regarding respect for and protection of all Afghans’ human rights, including those of women and girls, that had been provided to the international community by Taliban representatives during discussions and negotiations over the past decade. These assurances were repeated following the Taliban takeover in August 2021, that women would be afforded their rights, whether in work, education, or society at large.
The international community has been eager for signals that the Taliban are ready for positive relations with the wider world. The decision six weeks ago to postpone secondary schooling for Afghan girls was widely condemned internationally, regionally, and locally. Today’s decision by the Taliban might further strain engagement with the international community.
UNAMA will immediately request meetings with the Taliban de facto authorities to seek clarification on the status of this decision. UNAMA will also engage in consultations with members of the international community regarding its implications.