April 11, 2023
Yemen: Facing a war that lasts
On December 24, Doctors of the World and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in Afghanistan received a letter from the authorities stating that women were no longer permitted to work for national and international NGOs within the country. At Doctors of the World, we strongly condemn this decision and have decided to suspend our activities in Afghanistan.
As Afghanistan faces economic collapse and a severe humanitarian crisis, NGOs play an essential role in saving lives and bringing aid to the population. Banning women from working will only have a dramatic and devastating impact on the lives of millions of vulnerable women, men and children in the country.
By prohibiting women from working in NGOs, a red line has been crossed. Doctors of the World is taking the difficult decision to suspend its activities because an effective humanitarian response in line with humanitarian principles cannot be achieved without women. This choice has also been made by several NGOs in the country since the announcement on December 24.
DotW calls for the lifting of the ban on women aid workers so that we may resume our activities in the country. This decision made by the authorities comes just a few days after restrictions were placed on Afghan girls’ access to education. Doctors of the World has been present in this country for 30 years, from 1982 to 2012. In 2021, DotW decided to return and implement new humanitarian programs in the country. Until this month, Doctors of the World was supporting a district hospital in Kabul as well as working to address mother and child health needs. So far, 150,000 people have benefited from the medical services offered by this hospital. It is vital that the country lifts its ban on women aid workers so that they may return to provide much needed care to the country’s population.