On International Women’s Day, Amnesty draws attention to the plight of women and girls in Afghanistan. The international community must hold the Taliban accountable for their continued repression of women’s rights.
“For the past six months, the Taliban have systematically discriminated against women and girls. They have policies that severely restrict women’s freedom of movement and expression and undermine girls’ access to education and employment. In just six months, they have eroded two decades of women’s contributions to the country,” said Yamini Mishra, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.
“As the Taliban roll back Afghan women’s hard-won human rights with frightening speed, the international community must realize its responsibility to protect the many women and girls in Afghanistan. They are silenced through reprisals, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and torture. The Taliban must be held accountable.”
victim of oppression
The fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 was followed by significant progress in women’s rights. In the last 20 years, some 3.3 million girls have accessed education and women have been able to participate actively in the political, economic and social life of the country. Afghan women have become lawyers, doctors, judges, teachers, engineers, athletes, activists, politicians, journalists, civil servants, businesswomen, policemen and soldiers.
But today, as the world celebrates International Women’s Day, Afghan women and girls are unable to fully exercise their human rights. On the contrary, they are victims of the unbridled repression of the Taliban. Recently, they have been the victims of an unprecedented number of retaliatory attacks, without the Taliban being held accountable. Seven months after the Taliban seized power, fears Afghan women have harbored for decades have become a grim daily reality.
Since taking power, the Taliban have abolished the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. They have also barred civil servants and NGOs from returning to work, prevented three million girls from continuing their education, and severely restricted the rights of women and girls. These repressive measures are contrary to international human rights.
“Interventions are needed at different levels, including local, regional and international initiatives, to ensure that the rights of women and girls are protected. For example, there should be a UN-led monitoring mechanism to monitor the situation of women and hold the Taliban to account,” said Shabnam Salehi, former commissioner for women’s rights at the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. .
Mahbouba Seraj, executive director of the Afghan Center for Women’s Skills Development, concludes: “Don’t forget Afghan women. Be our voice and make your voice heard for your own government. The rest of the battle is up to us and we will continue it.”
On Tuesday morning, Amnesty International representatives met Éliane Tillieux, President of the Chamber of Deputies of the federal parliament, to hand her a petition signed by more than 12,500 people in Belgium. The Belgian state is called to defend and support, as part of the international community, the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan and to make this a priority.
On 8 March, Amnesty International is calling on governments around the world to hold the Taliban to account for their ongoing attacks on the rights of women and girls.
On International Women’s Day, Amnesty International is also participating in the World March of Women in Brussels. Amnesty activists will show their solidarity by taking to the streets for Afghan women and girls who cannot live, work, speak and defend their rights freely.