'We need to fight back and defend women's rights' - UN Secretary

"In Afghanistan, girls and women are seeing a rapid reversal of the rights they achieved in recent decades, including their right to a seat in the classroom," Antonio Guterres said.

FILE: UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres. Picture: AFP

UNITED STATES - UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres made an appeal on Thursday for reversing a decline in women's rights in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world.

"We need to fight back – and turn the clock forward – for every woman and girl," Guterres told the Security Council.

"Women will no longer accept reversals of their rights. They shouldn't have to – in countries in conflict, or anywhere else," he added.

In Myanmar, Ethiopia, Yemen and other parts of the world the rights of women are being violated or eliminated altogether, Guterres said.

"In Mali, after two coups in nine months, the space for women's rights is not just shrinking, but closing," he said.

"In Afghanistan, girls and women are seeing a rapid reversal of the rights they achieved in recent decades, including their right to a seat in the classroom," Guterres said.

Since the hardline Islamist Taliban movement seized power in late August, it has excluded girls from returning to secondary school while ordering boys back to class.

"In Afghanistan, the UN is staying and delivering, and will continue to promote and defend the rights of women and girls in all our engagements with the Taliban de facto authorities," the UN chief said.

"We will not stop until girls can go back to school, and women can return to their jobs and participate in public life."

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.