Women Human Rights Defenders

Amnesty International Calls for Immediate Release of Human Rights Defenders

Expressing concern about the safety of human rights defenders under Taliban custody, Amnesty International has called for the immediate and unconditional release of Zarifa Yaqoobi, Farhat Popalzai, Humaira Yusuf, and their colleagues.

The Taliban intelligence operatives arrested these women’s human rights defenders and their colleagues, including young men, over the past ten days.

“As the de-facto authorities [in Afghanistan], the Taliban must comply with international human rights law, and unconditionally release these women human rights defenders and their colleagues who have been arrested solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly,” Amnesty International quoted its South Asia Campaigner, Samira Hamidi, as saying.

Moreover, Hamidi asserted that the international community needs to hold the Taliban accountable for their human rights violations as the group continues to act with impunity.

The Amnesty International’s campaigner added that such arrests are yet another attempt to quell peaceful protests and dissent against the Taliban’s oppressive policies that violate human rights, particularly women and girls.

She warned that the Taliban have tortured and ill-treated those who were arbitrarily arrested by the group in the past.

“The international community must condemn these acts, both publicly and in their private interactions with the Taliban, and send a clear message that their current policies towards women and girls are not acceptable.”

Since their return to power, the Taliban have violently dispersed women’s protests in different parts of the country. In many cases, women protesters have been arrested for some time and forced to commit to not protesting again.