Middle East


Rights of Afghan Women and Girls Under Attack

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said that the rights of Afghan women and girls are “under attack” and that they need the world body’s support and solidarity now more than ever. In a statement on Thursday, the OCHA said that girls and women in the war-torn nation are deprived of basic rights and humanitarian organisations must aim to scale up assistance by providing food, healthcare, education, livelihood opportunities and protection services, reports TOLO News. According to the OCHA, 11.8 million women and girls need urgent humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan. The statement came after a gathering of women activists in Kabul on Wednesday stayed awake all night and “lit candles for freedom”. Reacting to the OCHA statement, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the allegations were baseless and “false information”. In a tweet, Mujahid said that since the Taliban took over Afghanistan last August everyone’s rights have…

UAE Reaffirms Commitment to Achieving Gender Equality

The United Arab Emirates reaffirmed its longstanding commitment to achieving gender equality and advancing the role of women at the 65th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Hessa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development, delivered the statement on behalf of the UAE at the general discussion via a recorded message, noting that the UAE’s efforts include the campaign to eliminate all forms of violence against women and the protection of women’s rights. She underlined the prominent role played by women in the UAE’s leadership ranks and at the frontline of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “As the Minister of Community Development, I recruited more than 600,000 volunteers. About 53 percent of them are women to help address the pandemic,” she said. Minister Buhumaid highlighted recent legislative amendments made as part of national efforts to eliminate violence against women and protect their rights. She referred to the…

US Pledges to Protect Afghan Women’s Rights

The United States vowed Tuesday to protect progress made in Afghanistan on women’s rights over the past 20 years, as it pushes for a transitional government in Kabul that would include the Taliban.

“We must do more to support the women and girls of Afghanistan,” the US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told the UN Security Council during a debate on Afghanistan.

Pakistan: Speakers Demand Implementation of Women Agricultural Workers Law

At a recent dialogue organised by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and the Sindh, speakers observed that the absence of rules of business was the main hurdle in implementing the 2020 labour law. The social structure is complicit in the exploitation of agricultural workers in the province, noted HRCP Chairperson Asad Iqbal Butt. Stressing that labour organisations should work together to secure the rights of agricultural workers, he observed that women labourers worked in very hot weather in poor health and safety conditions. Labour activists have stressed the need to implement the Sindh Women Agricultural Workers Act 2020, demanding social security for agriculture workers. There is a need for more work towards women empowerment in every sector, he added. National Trade Union Federation Pakistan (NTUF) deputy general secretary Nasir Mansoor said that the law was ambiguous and had loopholes. Labour laws overlap with the Sindh Industrial Relations Act 2013, he…

Oman Government Appoints Female as Head of Major Oil Block

Oman’s government has named Haifa Al Khaifi as head of a new company that controls the country’s biggest oil block, a rare appointment for a woman in a male-dominated sector in the Middle East. Al Khaifi will be the chief executive officer of Energy Development Oman, which ultimately owns the sultanate’s 60 per cent stake in Block 6, a huge field capable of producing around 650,000 barrels of crude each day. She joins from Petroleum Development Oman, the Gulf nation’s state-run oil and gas exploration and production firm, where she was the chief financial officer. Al Khaifi is also chairwoman of the Saudi Arabian unit of State Street Corp, the Boston-based custodian and money manager. Bloomberg reported in November that Oman, which is struggling to finance a budget deficit that soared last year, may issue around $3 billion of bonds off the back of Block 6. JPMorgan Chase & Co is advising the government…