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Hello, this is Paula with our first newsletter in 2023. As the new year begins, humanitarians in Afghanistan are already struggling to respond to rising needs after a Taliban edict banned women from humanitarian work. Ignacio Packer, executive director of ICVA, a Geneva-based NGO network, said aid organisations have to remain united as UN and Afghan officials discuss how to keep aid flowing.

We’re also hearing what Switzerland could bring to the Security Council as it takes its seat this month for the first time since becoming a member of the United Nations 20 years ago, and learning more about reported turbulence at the Swiss Red Cross.

photo journaliste

Paula Dupraz-Dobias


On our radar

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A health worker gives a dose of the polio vaccine to a child during a vaccination campaign in Kabul, Afghanistan, 21 December 2022. (Keystone/Xinhua/Saifurahman Safi)

Afghan aid in turmoil. With half of the country’s population already requiring urgent humanitarian support, a number of major Western aid groups said they were forced to suspend operations when authorities prohibited women aid employees from working for allegedly not complying with the proper use of hijab. We spoke to the head of a Geneva-based aid network about the consequences of the decision.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

Here's what else is happening

In numbers

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Credit: UN Women

Over three quarters of humanitarian NGOs in Afghanistan say their operations have been hindered by the Taliban’s recent ban on female workers, according to a survey by UN Women on 151 organisations. Over a third said they had completely suspended their activities due to the edict. NGO members of the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief and Development (ACBAR), including CARE and Save the Children, employ over 55,000 Afghan nationals, of which 28 per cent are women.

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