Advocacy Trainee Tatiana Antoni

Afghan women and girls are stripped of basic rights: UN Human Rights Council must take action

News 20.03.2023

To address the widespread violations of Afghan women’s and girls’ rights under the Taliban regime, Right Livelihood has called for the establishment of an accountability mechanism by the UN Human Rights Council. The current mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan is not sufficient to provide justice to the country’s women and girls, we explained during the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

You can read the full statement here.

Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan on August 15, 2021, women and girls in the country have been robbed of their basic rights. Afghan women and girls are facing the worst regression in fundamental human rights in recent history: there’s an official ban on women and girls’ access to education, severe restrictions to women’s employment and increased obstacles to accessing reproductive health services.

We told the Council that we cannot continue to tolerate this. We called for more action to improve the human rights situation in Afghanistan, including the establishment of a strong accountability mechanism to provide justice to the victims and to put an end to the culture of impunity.

To put the seriousness of the situation in perspective, we cited that approximately 80 per cent of the country’s young women and girls are currently banned from receiving an education. That leaves a staggering 16 million women and girls forcibly confined to their homes.

What’s more, the Taliban has also restricted women’s employment and their access to reproductive health services, including contraception. In a recent interview, 2012 Right Livelihood Laureate Sima Samar cited the repercussions of these oppressive regulations, explaining that women must give birth in increasingly unsafe environments, both for themselves and their babies, exacerbating the country’s health crisis and the infant mortality rate.

Right Livelihood condemns all violations of women’s and girls’ fundamental rights in Afghanistan and urges all states to do the same, emphasising the need for women to be active participants throughout all decision-making and humanitarian processes.

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