UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet led calls on Tuesday for Afghanistan’s new Taliban leaders to respect the rights of all Afghans and warned that the treatment of women and girls is a “fundamental red line” that should not be crossed.

Speaking at the opening of an emergency session at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, a little over a week since the Taliban swept to power, Ms. Bachelet reminded UN Member States of credible reports of violations of international humanitarian law against civilians in areas under their control.

These reports, she said, make it especially important that the Human Rights Council work in unison to prevent further abuses, and that Member States establish a dedicated mechanism to monitor the fast-evolving situation in Afghanistan and, in particular, the Taliban’s implementation of its promises. 

Ms. Bachelet added that “a fundamental red line will be the Taliban’s treatment of women and girls, and respect for their rights to liberty, freedom of movement, education, self-expression and employment, guided by international human rights norms.

In particular, ensuring access to quality secondary education for girls will be an essential indicator of commitment to human rights”, according UN News.

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