Statement by UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem on the Taliban’s decision to ban Afghan women from working with the United Nations

06 April 2023

UNFPA echoes the UN Secretary-General in strongly condemning the latest decision by the Taliban de facto authorities to ban Afghan women from working with the United Nations in Afghanistan. This decision is a clear violation of international law and threatens ongoing life-saving aid to the people of Afghanistan.

UNFPA’s national female staff provide critical support for the delivery of health and protection services to women and girls that their male colleagues cannot. They are a lifeline for the 26,000 women who give birth in hard-to-reach areas of Afghanistan each month.  

UNFPA is committed to making every effort to ensure that Afghan women and girls have access to life-saving maternal health services and psychosocial support, which cannot be done without the services of female humanitarian workers. 

As acute hunger and poverty soar, two thirds of the population urgently  need humanitarian assistance. UNFPA joins in calling on the Taliban de facto authorities to reverse its most recent decision and all other restrictions on women and girls, and to support human rights, freedom of movement, and the full participation in public life of women and all people of Afghanistan.

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