EU and 70 other countries “deeply concerned” about women’s rights in Afghanistan

Representatives from the EU to the UN Human Rights Council, joined by 70 other countries, have said they are “deeply concerned” about the state of human rights, especially of women, in Afghanistan.

In am open letter to the UN Human Rights Council president, Václav Bálek, following its 52nd session on Monday, in which the UN Special Rapporteur for Afghanistan, Richard Bennett presented his report, the signatories described the situation in Afghanistan as “systematically deteriorating”.

The letter said:

“The full realization of the right to education for all is an essential condition for achieving sustainable development and a multiplier right that supports the empowerment of all women and girls to realize their human rights. The ban on women and girls’ secondary and university education in Afghanistan deprives them of the enjoyment of their human rights, which all individuals should enjoy on the basis of equal conditions and opportunity, in a non-discriminatory manner. It also undermines Afghanistan’s capacity to move towards sustainable peace, economic and social development, and the realization and enjoyment of all human rights.”

The signatories voiced their desire to “facilitate a future where all Afghans, without any form of discrimination, can participate in Afghan society, including the full, equal and meaningful participation of Afghan women.”

In his report, Richard Bennett said that the Taliban’s abuses of human rights were “‘intentional and calculated,” and that the group’s treatment of women may amount to crime against humanity.