Unsplash/Javad Esmaeili

Forum-Asia: Gender apartheid and persecution of minorities in Afghanistan must end

The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum-Asia) has in a recent statement said that the Taliban’s gender apartheid and persecution of minorities must end, calling on the international community to hold the group accountable for their human rights violations.

The joint statement on Tuesday signed by 20 rights groups states that during the two years rule of the Taliban, the people of Afghanistan, particularly women and minorities, have been barred from exercising their basic human rights and freedoms.

The group has imposed over 50 edicts, depriving women and girls of their right to education, healthcare, employment, and travel. They have also been restricted from working for NGOs and the UN.

“The Taliban have erased Afghanistan’s achievements of the past twenty years, abolishing all institutions and mechanisms responsible for upholding human rights and the rule of law in the country. Revenge killings targeting the former government security forces and persecution of civil society actors have been widespread across the country.” Part of the statement reads.

The Taliban returned to power on 15 August 2021 after the US and NATO troops withdrew from the country and the Kabul government collapsed. Since then, no single country has recognized the group.

The Taliban cabinet, as Forum-Asia puts it, remains non-inclusive and non-representative, heavily dominated by all male and Pashtun members.

The statement has said that the Taliban and senior figures in their administration are notorious perpetrators of human rights violations sanctioned by the UN Security Council and the European Union. 

The Forum-Asia asserts that women, minorities, and human rights defenders from  Afghanistan, including those in exile, are deeply concerned over their diminishing rights and representation in recent engagements with the Taliban.

It indicates that in the absence of any effective accountability measures, the Taliban are responsible for gross human rights violations and continue to enjoy a state of impunity, potentially motivating other terrorist groups to follow suit.

The statement adds, “In the name of Sharia law, the Taliban have introduced and practiced barbaric rulings such as flogging, stoning, and public executions. Such an extreme interpretation of Sharia has not been acknowledged by any Islamic country. Instead, it has been criticized  as ‘unjustifiable in religion.”

According to Forum-Asia, under Taliban rule, ethnic and religious minorities such as Shias and Hazaras, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Sikhs, and Sufis are at greater risk of persecution, forced displacement, and enforced disappearances.

“The increased risks of genocide against Hazaras, the collective punishment against Tajiks,  and the forced displacement of Uzbeks are all alarming and can pose potential security threats.” The statement asserts.