UN Special Rapporteur reports institutionalized system of discrimination of women and girls in Afghanistan News
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UN Special Rapporteur reports institutionalized system of discrimination of women and girls in Afghanistan

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan released a report (A/HRC/56/25) on Tuesday, ahead of the 56th session of the Human Rights Council taking place from June 18 to July 12, 2024, where the Special Rapporteur will address the findings.

A critical analysis of the worsening subjugation of Afghan women and girls by the Taliban is highlighted and described as a systematic entrenchment that “leads to devastating and long-lasting harm to all genders, with implications extending well beyond the borders of Afghanistan that are likely to arise from poorly conditioned engagement with the Taliban”.

The rejection of women and girls’ human dignity by the Taliban is pervasive and reinforced through multiple edicts and policies that deprive human rights such as the rights to education, work, health and freedom of movement and expression. While the report finds that in the period from June 2023 to March 2024, 53 edicts have been issued that restrict the rights of women and girls, the principle policies that are examined include the banning of education programmes, the ban on entering parks, the prohibition on holding directorships, and requiring women to wear a black hijab with their face covered while on television.

In building off previous reports, the Special Rapporteur also finds gross human rights abuses and finds the Taliban’s institutionalised system of discrimination, segregation, disrespect for dignity and exclusion of women and girls as likely amounting to crimes against humanity. The concern for the reinstatement of stoning, the suffered beatings and other forms of physical and psychological violence, as well as, sexual violence, enslavement and trafficking at the hands of the Taliban are analysed in the report as crimes against humanity and demonstrate a harrowing crisis for woman and children in Afghanistan.

In considering the actions forward, the report amongst other suggestions, supports a case against Afghanistan at the International Court of Justice and finds it essential that the International Criminal Court “be provided with the necessary resources to carry out effective investigations into crimes under international law”. Further, the report supports the codification of gender apartheid as a crime against humanity. This codification was originally called for by the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls in February 2024.

In February this year, the UN reported on and convened a meeting of Special Envoys and Special Representatives on Afghanistan. This report specifically responds to the request for an independent assessment mandated by resolution 54/1 and reinforces the concern highlighted in February for women’s rights in Afghanistan.

The Human Rights Council will consider the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, followed by an enhanced interactive dialogue on June 18.