NEW YORK CITY, New York – U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Jeanne Shaheen (DN.H) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) visited United Nations Headquarters in New York today to discuss the how the United States and the international community can better support women and girls in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. They participated in a series of meetings to discuss how to protect the rights and freedoms of Afghan women, particularly in the context of the ongoing humanitarian crisis, as well as to hold extremist members of the Taliban to account for their oppressive policies.
“Since the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, we have seen what we all feared come true: the Taliban reneging on their promises to defend the rights of Afghan women and girls. Just last week, the Taliban government took the disastrous decision to prevent Afghan girls from returning to secondary schools, and the dire humanitarian situation in the country has made life increasingly difficult for too many. . Senators Shaheen and Collins have been important partners, along with our fellow senators, in urging the administration to act in support of the human rights of Afghan women and girls, and today’s visit to the United Nations has made clear the importance of the United States and the commitment of the international communities to protect our Afghan allies and hold the Taliban to account,” said Senator Ernst.
“Today’s meetings reaffirmed Congress’s bipartisan commitment to supporting Afghan women and girls, whose fundamental rights and freedoms are severely compromised under the Taliban regime. Just last week, we saw the Taliban renege on their promise to reopen access to secondary education for Afghan girls. It is clear that time is running out as the Taliban escalate their attacks on basic rights, education, freedom of movement and economic opportunity for women – all against the backdrop of a grave humanitarian crisis that is hitting the hardest women and children, said Senator Shaheen. “I appreciated hearing the UN’s assessment of the situation on the ground in Afghanistan and how Congress can support the UN’s mission to protect vulnerable groups. I appreciate Senators Collins and Ernst for their steadfast partnership in ensuring that decades of progress for women and girls in Afghanistan are not erased under Taliban rule. The United States must live up to its commitment to support Afghan women and hold the Taliban to account for their litany of injustices.
“The disastrous withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan reversed the tremendous progress that had been made for Afghan women and girls. The Taliban’s recent decision banning Afghan girls from receiving secondary education is the latest in a series of outrageous attacks on women’s rights and freedoms,” he added. said Senator Collins. “Alongside Senators Shaheen and Ernst, I have long advocated for our government to improve access to educational and professional opportunities for Afghan women and girls. Today’s meetings at the United Nations provided invaluable insight into the steps the international community is taking to complement U.S. efforts to support human rights in Afghanistan, as well as to address the grave crisis current humanitarian. We will continue our work in the Senate to secure resources to help the people of Afghanistan, especially vulnerable women and girls.
Since the fall of Afghanistan, Senator Ernst has championed the protection of the rights of Afghan women and girls. Ernst led every female senator — all 24 — in a bipartisan letter to President Biden calling on him to do so.
Last week, following the Taliban’s decision to backtrack on its promise to open schools for Afghan girls beyond sixth grade, Ernst joined Shaheen and Collins, along with Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska ), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) to condemn “the Taliban’s attack on women’s education, rights and freedoms in Afghanistan.”
Yesterday, Ernst joined a bipartisan group of female senators to urge President Biden to act after the Taliban reneged on a pledge to allow Afghan girls to return to secondary school.