MSF condemns the ban on women working for NGOs and their erasure from public life in Afghanistan

MSF condemns the ban on women working for NGOs and their erasure from public life in Afghanistan

On 24 December 2022, the Taliban administration ordered all local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to stop their female employees from coming to work, according to a letter by the Ministry of Economy sent to all licensed NGOs. Non-compliance will result in revoking the licenses of said NGOs, the ministry said. In the letter, the ministry cites the non-observance of Islamic dress rules and other laws and regulations as reasons for the decision.

This decision came four days after the Taliban government had suspended university education for all women in Afghanistan, another step in the IEA’s brutal clampdown on the rights and freedoms of Afghan women. 

Soon after the latest declaration, the Minister of Public Health informed health actors, but not formalised it officially, that the directive doesn’t apply to NGOs that deliver medical care.

In addition, MSF is not registered in the country as an NGO, but as an international organization. We are therefore not directly affected by this directive as we depend mainly on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Nevertheless, this administrative status negotiated with the previous administration does not guarantee us any long-term immunity.

That is why we want to proactively communicate our frustration with these successive hardening policies towards women.

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This is the press room for MSF UK - the UK office of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare. MSF offers assistance to people based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.

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