Afghanistan: UN experts weigh in on latest Taliban treatment of women


Today, UN experts* stated that the Taliban’s de facto authorities’ most recent actions against women and girls deepen ongoing, egregious violations of their human rights and freedoms, which are already among the most severe in the world. These actions may also constitute gender persecution, a crime against humanity, a statement from OHCHR reads.

The statement says that the most severe and intolerable abuses of the fundamental rights and freedoms of women and girls have drastically grown in Afghanistan in recent months. While girls are still not allowed to attend secondary schools, women are increasingly being barred from public spaces like gyms and parks, and lately in at least one province, young women were prevented from accessing their institution. Children’s right to play and participate in recreational activities as well as their opportunity for relaxation and exercise are all violated when women are prohibited from entering parks. It is equivalent to imprisoning women to keep them in their homes, which is likely to result in higher rates of domestic abuse and mental health issues.

The statement reads that Taliban officers have brutally assaulted men who accompanied ladies who were wearing colorful attire or who were not wearing a facial covering. By punishing male relatives for the alleged offenses of women and by pushing men and boys to control the behavior, appearance, and movement of women and girls in their circles, the Taliban are taking away the agency of women and girls.

Women who peacefully protest against tighter restrictions on women and girls have been increasingly targeted, beaten up, and detained over the past few months. A press conference was interrupted on Thursday, November 3, and attendees were detained. Zarifa Yaquobian, an activist, and four other men are still being held by the Taliban’s intelligence division, according to the statement from OHCHR.

The statement also argues that investigations into the aforementioned acts of gender persecution should be conducted in order to pursue legal action under international law, together with past discriminatory measures against women and girls that the Taliban de facto authority implemented.

Read the full statement here.

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