UN Photo/Jaclyn Licht

Gordon Brown calls for ICC investigation into Taliban’s repression of women and girls

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called for an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into the Taliban’s repression of women and girls in Afghanistan.

In an article published in the Guardian on Tuesday, Brown, who is now the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, said that the Taliban’s actions against women and girls amount to “gender apartheid” and a “crime against humanity”, indicating that the group has banned girls from attending secondary school and has severely restricted women’s access to employment, healthcare, and other basic services.

He stated that an estimated 2.5 million girls and young women have no education at all and that another 3 million girls who are about to complete their primary education will soon be unable to move on to secondary school.

Brown called on the international community to “mobilize in greater numbers and with renewed strength of purpose” to condemn the Taliban’s treatment of women and girls which violates international human rights treaties to which Afghanistan is a party.

Brown suggested that online classes should be offered and expanded for women and girls in Afghanistan, asserting that UNICEF and other education-related organizations should be given the resources to step up their provision of educational opportunities for women and girls.

He also suggested that a high-powered delegation of Muslim-majority government leaders should be sent to Kandahar to engage with the Taliban religious leadership on their approach to education for women.

The Taliban’s restrictions on women’s rights to education and work have been met with widespread condemnation from the international community and human rights organizations. Despite these calls for the Taliban to reverse its policies, the group has responded by imposing even more restrictions on women and girls in Afghanistan.