Qatar foreign minister says he urged Taliban to respect women's rights

Qatar foreign minister says he urged Taliban to respect women’s rights

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Dubai: Qatar’s foreign minister said on Monday that the Gulf states have urged Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers to respect women’s rights and it is too early to consider recognizing their government.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani speaks at a joint press conference held in Doha with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. Le Drian said dozens of French nationals are still in Afghanistan, and Paris is cooperating with Qatar to evacuate them.

“We have always urged the Taliban and the government, we reiterated that yesterday, that the Afghan people s gains must be protected including women s rights and their role in the development of Afghanistan,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

“We gave them many examples of Muslim countries, including Qatar, a state with an Islamic system, where women enjoy fully their rights,” he added.

During their previous 1996-2001 rule, the Taliban severely restricted women s rights, including banning them from education and work, and there are fears they may do so again following their return to power last month with the collapse of the Western-backed government and the withdrawal of foreign forces.

Qatar is an absolute monarchy that bans political parties. It itself has been criticized by Human Rights Watch and other organizations for its position on women. Although they enjoy relative freedom in the Gulf countries, women are still under the guardianship system, which prevents them from making independent decisions about basic rights such as marriage, travel and access to reproductive health care without the consent of a male guardian.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on Monday that the Taliban had violated public commitments to rights, including ordering women to stay at home, preventing girls from going to school, and conducting house-to-house searches of former enemies.

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