US asset freezes worsen Afghan women’s struggling: UN experts

GENEVA (REUTERS) – The United States, in addition to the Taliban authorities, is contributing to the struggling of ladies in Afghanistan via asset freezes, UN unbiased experts mentioned on Monday (April 25).

The United Nations and overseas governments, together with Washington, have condemned strikes by the Taliban to backtrack on women’s rights commitments reminiscent of on women’ training within the months following their takeover in August 2021.

However, the assertion by 14 UN unbiased rights experts additionally blamed the US authorities for making life worse for Afghan girls via blocking billions of {dollars} of central financial institution belongings made up in a part of help cash for the nation accrued over many years.

“While gender-based violence has been a long-standing and severe threat to women and girls, it has been exacerbated by the measures imposed by the US…,” mentioned the assertion, with out giving particular particulars.

A US State Department spokesperson mentioned the assertion contained “serious mistakes” and denied that US actions had elevated hardships confronted by Afghan girls below Taliban rule.

The assertion additionally blamed the Taliban’s “widening gender-based discrimination” for deteriorating women’s rights.

The present humanitarian disaster wherein 23 million individuals, or some 60 per cent of the inhabitants, are reliant on meals help is having a”disproportionate affect” on girls and youngsters, the assertion added.

Afghan central financial institution funds have been frozen since August when the Taliban took over and overseas forces withdrew.

US President Joe Biden issued an government order in February setting wheels in movement to unlock half of the US$7 billion (S$9.6 billion) in frozen Afghan central financial institution belongings on US soil to assist the Afghan individuals whereas holding the remainder to presumably fulfill terrorism-related lawsuits in opposition to the Taliban.

The US State Department spokesperson mentioned the February motion had facilitated, not blocked entry to a good portion of Afghan Central Bank reserves. “If we hadn’t taken any action, all of the reserves would have been inaccessible indefinitely,” the spokesperson mentioned.

The UN experts appointed by the Geneva-based Rights Council known as the order’s provisions “overly broad” and mentioned they have been leading to “over-zealous compliance with sanctions thus preventing people of Afghanistan from any access to basic humanitarian goods”.

The US official countered that the sanctions had “explicit exemptions for vital assistance”.

Under worldwide human rights regulation, governments together with the United States have an obligation to make sure their actions don’t lead to rights violations, the assertion mentioned.

The experts formally relayed their considerations and proposals to the US authorities 60 days in the past, a UN official mentioned. They haven’t but obtained a reply.

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