The Taliban are destroying the lives of women and girls

In a new report released today, Amnesty International describes how the Taliban are destroying the lives of millions of women and girls in Afghanistan and how their human rights are being drastically curtailed.

In August 2021, the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan. Since then, the rights of women and girls in the areas of education, work and freedom of movement have been violated. They are also no longer adequately protected from domestic violence, women have been imprisoned for minor violations of discriminatory rules, and the number of child and forced marriages has increased.

The report, Death in Slow Motion: Women and Girls Under the Taliban, describes how women who peacefully protested these oppressive rules are threatened, arrested, detained, tortured, and “disappeared.”

“Less than a year after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, their brutal policies are denying millions of women and girls their right to live a safe and free life,” said Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

This policy constitutes a system of oppression that discriminates against women and girls in nearly all aspects of their lives. Every daily activity – going to school, work, leaving the house – is under control and severely curtailed.

pardon call

Amnesty International is calling on the Taliban to fundamentally change their policy and guarantee the rights of women and girls. The international community, governments and international organizations, as well as all member states of the United Nations and the United Nations Security Council must demand that the Taliban do so quickly. The consequences of Taliban actions, such as targeted sanctions or travel bans, should be attached. In addition, Amnesty International is calling on the international community to provide international protection for all women and girls outside Afghanistan.

Imprisonment and torture of peaceful protesters

Although the Taliban said they would protect women’s rights when they took power in August 2021, they soon introduced a policy of systematic discrimination against women and girls. The women responded in protest. The Taliban suppressed this.

Amnesty International interviewed a protester who was imprisoned for a few days in 2022. She described her time in detention:[De Taliban bewakers] They kept coming into my room and showing my family pictures. They kept chanting… “We can kill them all, there is nothing you can do… Don’t cry, don’t make a scene of it. After you protested, you could have expected it.”

She was also badly beaten: “They locked the door. They started screaming at me… [Een lid van de Taliban] He said, “You filthy woman…America doesn’t give us money because of you bitches…” Then he kicked me. It hit my back so hard, it kicked me in the chin too… I can still feel the pain in my mouth. Every time I want to talk, I feel pain.

Two women said that after posting pictures on social media of a protester’s injuries, Taliban members tried to prevent the women from publicly disclosing their injuries.

They hit us between our chests and our legs. They did it because we couldn’t show it to the world that way. A soldier walking beside me hit me on the chest and said: I can kill you now and no one will say anything. This happened every time we went out. They insulted us – physically, verbally and emotionally.”

Protesters in prisons lacked food, water, ventilation, sanitation products, and health care. To be released, they had to sign agreements stating that they and their relatives would not demonstrate or speak publicly about their experiences in detention.

Arbitrary arrest and detention

According to four whistleblowers who worked in Taliban detention centers, the Taliban are detaining more and more women for minor violations of their discriminatory rules. One of these rules is that women are not allowed to appear in public without a mahram (male servant). Women arrested on this basis are often accused of “moral corruption”. The number of cases for this type of violation is increasing.

A student detained in 2022 said she was threatened and beaten after being arrested for violating the rules of the Muharram. She said: They electrocuted me… on my shoulder, on my face, on my neck, everywhere they could… They called me a whore. [en] Whore… The man with the gun said, “I will kill you and no one will find your body.” Women victims of domestic violence are also imprisoned.

Child and forced marriage

Child and forced marriages are on the rise under Taliban rule. The reasons for this include the economic and humanitarian crisis, the lack of education and professional opportunities for women, and the forced marriage of women and girls to Taliban members.

Stephanie Sinclair, director of Too Young to Wed, an organization that fights child marriage: “The climate in Afghanistan is perfect for child marriage. You have patriarchal government, war, poverty, drought, girls out of school – with all these factors combined, we knew the number of child marriages The kids will rise dramatically.”

Khurshid (not her real name), a 35-year-old woman from central Afghanistan, told Amnesty International that the economic crisis forced her to marry off her 13-year-old daughter to a 30-year-old neighbor in September 2021. Upon her return, she got A dowry of about 660 euros. She was relieved after her daughter’s marriage that she “won’t be hungry anymore”.

Khurshid is also considering marrying her 10-year-old daughter but would prefer not to as she hopes to be able to support the family in the future. I wanted her to study longer. She can then read, write, speak English and earn money…and I hope this daughter becomes something, and she can provide for the family. But if she does not open the school anymore, I will, of course, marry her.

There is no good education

Most girls are not allowed to go to school under the Taliban. Their scheduled return to school on March 23, 2022 did not last long. On the same day, the girls brought the girls home again due to a “technical problem” with their school uniform.

In universities, female students are harassed and there are restrictions on their behaviour, clothing and opportunities. This creates an insecure environment where women are systematically disadvantaged. Many female students stopped their studies or did not start at all.

Bishna (not her real name), a 21-year-old student at Kabul University, says: ‘[De] The guards shout at us and say “Put your clothes on, your headscarf…why are your feet showing?” … [Het] The department head came to our class and said “Be careful – we can only protect you if you’re in the building…If the Taliban harass you, we can’t stop them.”

“The Taliban deliberately violates the rights of millions of women and girls, exposing them to systematic discrimination,” said Agnes Callamard. “If the international community fails to do something, it will fail the women and girls of Afghanistan.”

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