UN expert, Amnesty International condemn Taliban crackdown on women’s rights protest
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UN expert, Amnesty International condemn Taliban crackdown on women’s rights protest

UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan Richard Bennett and Amnesty International Saturday condemned the Taliban’s crackdown on the women’s rights protest in Kabul that day. Around 40 female protesters marched in front of the Afghan Ministry of Education to mark the one-year anniversary of the Taliban’s takeover of the country. The protesters chanted slogans such as “bread, work, and freedom,” “we want political participation” and “no to enslavement.”

To disperse the protesters, the Taliban opened fired in the air, and it has been reported that some protesters and journalists were beaten, and phones as well as cameras were seized. Several journalists were detained, out of whom at least three were still in custody as of Saturday evening. It is not known if any protesters were also detained.

Bennett said:

Amnesty’s South Asia Regional Office said:

This was the first street protest in a few months; the Taliban is reported to have assaulted and detained women’s rights protesters incommunicado previously. The protests have also been seeking for the international community to not recognize the Taliban as the country’s government and intervene.

Monday will mark a year since the Taliban seized power. Since August 15 last year, Afghanistan has gained the status of the only country in the world that has a ban on on girls’ secondary education, and women must wear a burqa, are not allowed to travel long distances without a male companion or work in most government jobs. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs was replaced with the “Ministry for Preaching and Guidance” in September, and in May this year, Taliban authorities dissolved the country’s Human Rights Commission, calling it “unnecessary.”

In July, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution affirming its commitment to equal rights for women in Afghanistan and directing the Taliban to establish institutions to protect the rights of women and victims of sexual and gender-based violence. The UN Security Council urged the Taliban in May to reverse its restrictions on the fundamental freedoms and human rights of Afghan women. The de-facto government has been called out for “contradict[ing] their promises of women’s rights” as early as September last year. 

Read JURIST’s Afghanistan dispatches here.