Squeeze the Taliban to end gender apartheid in Afghanistan, says Nelson Mandela’s widow
Graça Machel, the widow of Nelson Mandela, has condemned that Taliban’s severe restrictions on women as gender apartheid the world must not tolerate.
According to the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Graça Machel, one of the most prominent women’s rights campaigner, has said that the Taliban should be “squeezed” by the international community and its abuse of women and girls must not be accepted.
Since returning to power in August 2021, the Taliban has banned girls from studying beyond primary school, banned women from working in most sectors, including for humanitarian organisations, and banned women from leaving home without a male guardian.
Graça Machel, who was married to Nelson Mandela from 1998 to 2013, said that the Taliban’s restrictions on women “is a kind of apartheid, which is gender apartheid. I agree with that kind of definition.”
“But more than the definition, it is for me to say the same vigour and the same persistence which was applied to fight apartheid should be applied in the case of Afghanistan.”
She called on the international community to “apply their minds with creativity and innovation”.
Graça Machel said: “The international community cannot leave it to the Taliban alone to decide about the future of 50 per cent of their population. We need to find a creative way of engaging them and to challenge the Taliban to say this is humanly unacceptable and it’s unacceptable to discriminate simply because they are women.”
The international community, Graça Machel said, was not putting enough pressure on the group to change its policies.
“I think so far, what is being applied against them is too soft. Because it’s too soft, they survive. They should be squeezed to understand the human family is not going to allow them to continue the way they are behaving. There have to be ways.” She said.
Graça Machel reminded that the destruction apartheid in South Africa took decades long international pressures. The Taliban, too, she said, must be confronted in the same manner.
She said: “I think so far, what is being applied against them is too soft. Because it’s too soft, they survive. They should be squeezed to understand the human family is not going to allow them to continue the way they are behaving. There have to be ways.”