Afghanistan: Taliban’s restrictions on women’s rights are gender apartheid

51st Session of the Human Rights Council

Enhanced interactive dialogue on the situation of human rights of women and girls in Afghanistan

12 September 2022

As a woman who has been involved in the transitional justice process in Afghanistan, I was dreaming of reconciliation for my country. Our hopes and dreams have vanished as women and girls have been excluded from access to basic rights such as education and participation in economic and political life.

The de-facto authorities have completely reversed all progress achieved by Afghan women since 2001. Currently, Afghanistan is the only country in the world that does not allow girls to attend secondary school and bars women from employment and political participation. Women are unable to leave their house alone or without full veils. The Taliban have abolished all legislation and institutions, like the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, that protected the rights of women and girls. The Taliban’s interpretation of the Sharia law justifies violence against women and does not provide justice for victims. Women who bravely protest against the discriminatory rules of the Taliban are systematically attacked, detained, tortured, disappeared or even killed.

Taliban’s restrictions on women’s and girls’ rights in Afghanistan could only be described as “gender apartheid”.

I call on the members of the Human Rights Council to condition their engagement with the de-facto authorities to the respect of women’s and girls’ rights and to establish an independent investigative mechanism in addition to the Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan, that has the mandate and resources to investigate all human rights violations, including the violations of the rights of women and girls. I further urge the Human Rights Council to collaborate with UN Women, UNAMA, and women-led organizations in Afghanistan in order to establish safe-houses to protect to women victims of abuse.

I thank you.