The UN Risk to Its Reputation: A Critical Moment in Human Rights and Women’s Participation

 Indeed, the United Nations will do eternal damage to its reputation by abandoning its duty to protect human rights and women’s participation in a shameful attempt to appease the Taliban. The global community relies on the UN as a beacon of hope and justice, particularly in regions where fundamental freedoms are under constant threat. In Afghanistan, the plight of women and girls has been particularly severe since the Taliban’s resurgence, with significant rollbacks on their rights to education, work, and public life. The UN mandate includes the protection and promotion of human rights, with a specific focus on ensuring gender equality and empowering women. However, recent actions and negotiations with the Taliban suggest a troubling departure from these principles. Any move to placate the Taliban without securing concrete commitments to uphold women’s rights risks undermining decades of progress and the very credibility of the UN.

The Impact on Women and Girls

Since the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan, there have been numerous reports of women being forced out of their jobs, girls being banned from secondary education, and increased enforcement of draconian dress codes and mobility restrictions. These actions are in direct violation of international human rights standards, which the UN is supposed to uphold. Abandoning these responsibilities not only betrays Afghanistan women and girls but also sends a dangerous message globally: that women’s rights are negotiable and secondary to political expediency. This could embolden other regimes with poor human rights records to act with impunity, knowing that the international response may be compromised by political considerations.

 The Moral and Ethical Obligation

The UN was established to foster peace, security, and cooperation among nations, with an unequivocal commitment to human rights. Its charter and various treaties and declarations, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), underscore its duty to protect the most vulnerable. Failing to stand firm against the Taliban’s abuses not only undermines these instruments but also erodes the moral authority of the UN. Furthermore, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 5 which aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, cannot be realized if the international community turns a blind eye to such egregious violations. The UN’s credibility in promoting and achieving these goals hinges on its consistency and integrity in defending human rights everywhere.

 The Way Forward

To restore and maintain its reputation, the UN must take a principled stand. This means unequivocally condemning the Taliban’s actions that infringe on human rights, particularly those affecting women and girls. The UN should leverage its diplomatic and economic tools to press for real and verifiable commitments to human rights from the Taliban. This includes ensuring that women and girls can return to school, work, and participate freely in public life without fear of reprisal. Moreover, the UN should increase its support for local and international NGOs working on the ground to protect and promote women’s rights in Afghanistan. By amplifying the voices of Afghanistan women and girls, the UN can help ensure that their rights are not sacrificed at the altar of political compromise. In conclusion, the UN stands at a critical juncture. It can choose to uphold its foundational principles and fight for the rights of Afghanistan women and girls, or it can capitulate to political pressures and tarnish its legacy. The choice is clear: protecting human rights and women’s participation is not just a duty but a moral imperative that the UN must fulfill to retain its relevance and respect on the global stage.


By : Aisha , Women’s and children’s rights activist