Mon, 04 Dec 2023

Kabul [Afghanistan], March 28 (ANI): The United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said Afghan women-run businesses are on the verge of collapse due to deepening restrictions by the Taliban, Afghanistan-based Khaama Press reported.

UNHCR in a report highlighted that a considerable number of women's business centres have lost their clients and ceased operations throughout the country.

According to International Labor Organisation (ILO) report, following the return of the Taliban to power in August 2021, the number of women-run businesses has declined by a quarter.

Due to the Taliban's deepening restriction on women's employment, Afghanistan's national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has in the past two years declined between 30-35 per cent, according to an ILO report.

UNHCR spokesperson Caroline Gluck went to a women's business centre in western Herat province, said the business centre once bustling with people has now turned into a silent shop with few clients to buy handicrafts.

Sahra, who runs a clothing store, said, "There were many students coming and going here, and they would come by the stores; they spread the word about the shops here and help us market the place. Now, my income has reduced a lot, I would say by about 50 per cent."The centre opened in June 2022 as a pilot project requested by the community and supported by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, with Afghan partner, Women Activities and Social Services Association (WASSA), aimed at providing livelihood opportunities for women in the Guzara district of western Herat province, according to Khaama Press.

On December 24, the Taliban ordered non-government aid organizations (NGOs) to suspend female employees from work and adhere to the strict policies of the ruling regime. The group has also restricted university education for women and girls, which prompted widespread condemnations in Afghanistan and beyond.

Khaama Press recently reported that as the Taliban continues to suppress women and restrict their fundamental rights in the country, the European Union (EU) along with more than 70 countries in a joint newsletter on Sunday expressed concern over the situation and said that these restrictions undermine economic and social stability and development in Afghanistan.

The letter further stated that one of every three aid workers in the country is a woman, and as a result, they are no longer allowed to assist women and other people in need.

According to the statement, restrictions on Afghan women working for domestic and international non-governmental groups would prevent millions of Afghans from receiving humanitarian aid, Khaama Press reported.

Ban on education and other fundamental rights of women is undermining inclusive governance and the recognition of human rights, the statement read further. (ANI)

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