DG's Statements and Speeches
06 Apr 2023

IOM Director General's Statement on the Ban on Afghan Women Working for the United Nations

Geneva / Kabul – The International Organization for Migration  strongly condemns the prohibition against Afghan women working for the United Nations in Afghanistan by the country’s de facto authorities. 

Over the last year, the women and girls of Afghanistan have been subjected to increasingly restrictive orders limiting their participation in all aspects of social, economic and political life.  

On 24 December 2022, for example the de facto authorities banned Afghan women from working for national and international non-governmental organizations. Earlier edicts denied women and girls access to higher education. This latest prohibition constitutes an unparalleled violation of women’s rights, a flagrant breach of humanitarian principles and international rules on the privileges and immunities of the United Nations. 

While the country is reeling from a severe economic and humanitarian crisis, this directive will significantly hinder the delivery of critical assistance to those most in need. 

Women's involvement in the delivery of aid is not just a principled response but an imperative for operational effectiveness as they play an essential role in IOM’s delivery of humanitarian assistance, especially to women and girls. We must ensure they have the needed access and support to continue their extraordinary work in safety throughout the country.  

All IOM and UN national female staff will continue to receive their salaries, and women will not be replaced by men. 

No durable peace, recovery, or stability is possible without women’s active engagement and participation in the social, economic, and political life of their country. IOM will continue to assist the Afghan people – two-thirds of whom are in need of life-saving humanitarian assistance, including 6.5 million internally displaced people and 5.7 million returning migrants. 

IOM has maintained a consistent presence in Afghanistan since 1992 through conflict and humanitarian crises, and remains committed to stay and deliver to support the Afghan people. 

Today, tomorrow, and every day thereafter, IOM stands with the women of Afghanistan. 


For more information please contact:

Paul Dillon, Spokesperson, IOM Geneva, +41 79 636 9874, pdillon@iom.int