United Nations’ experts calls out Taliban’s institutionalised gender apartheid

The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, and the Chair of the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls, Dorothy Estrada-Tanck, who visited Afghanistan from 27 April to 4 May said in a statement that the Taliban’s restrictions on women is “extreme situation of institutionalised gender-based discrimination” and “unparalleled anywhere in the world”.

The experts said that the Taliban’s policies have “contributed to a surge in the rates of child and forced marriage, as well as the proliferation of gender-based violence perpetrated with impunity.”

They also expressed concern about the fact that women who peacefully protest against these oppressive measures encounter threats, harassment, arbitrary detentions and torture.

The experts called on the Taliban to “immediately and unconditionally reverse all discriminatory measures” against women and girls, and to “fully comply with their obligations under international human rights law.”
They also urged the international community to “take concrete steps towards supporting accountability for serious human rights violations”.

The Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August 2021, after the United States and its allies withdrew their troops from the country. Since then, the Taliban has imposed severe restrictions on women and girls, including banning them from working in most government jobs and from attending secondary school.

The experts’ statement is a stark reminder of the dire situation facing women and girls in Afghanistan, and of the urgent need for the international community to take action to protect their rights.