Jan Chipchase, Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Rights groups condemn lack of global response to Taliban’s gender persecution

Ten leading international human rights groups have in a joint statement condemned the lack of an effective response from the international community to the Taliban’s gross human rights violations and gender persecution in two years of the group’s rule in Afghanistan.

The statement released Tuesday states that the Taliban has imposed heightened abusive policies, particularly against women and girls and ethnic minorities, that breach international human rights law.

International human rights groups, among them Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, highlighted that the Taliban treatment of women and girls could account for gender persecution of a crime against humanity and be characterized as gender apartheid.

The Taliban, as the statement puts it, should be pressured to end violations and repression and be held accountable for their alleged crimes under international law, including investigation of whether the crime against humanity of gender persecution against women and girls has been committed.

The Alliance for Human Rights in Afghanistan has reiterated that they will continue to record Taliban’s crimes under international law and other serious human rights violations despite the fading international attention on Afghanistan.

Additionally, the statement has raised concerns for the safety of activists protesting the Taliban’s harsh policies.

“Activists, especially women, protesting Taliban policies from within Afghanistan face some of the greatest risks for raising their voices and yet speak the loudest. They have persisted, despite the Taliban responding by inflicting on them physical violence, raids, arbitrary arrests and detention, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, enforced disappearance, and attacks on their family members.” The statement indicated.

The statement also underlines the situation of human rights activists who have been left behind and trapped inside Afghanistan under mounting threats from the Taliban or those who fled the group’s reprisal.

“While many human rights defenders at risk have been compelled to leave Afghanistan over the past two years, many more remain behind, trapped and in hiding, with little recourse for safety.” The statement noted.

“Those who have crossed borders into neighboring countries lack durable solutions, are at risk of being expelled, are often in financial crises, and face a credible risk of persecution if returned to Afghanistan. Yet, they cannot rebuild their lives in their host country and often lack any resettlement prospects outside the region. In their current host countries—often Iran, Turkey, and Pakistan—they suffer threats, including arrest, violence, extortion, deportation, and lack access to essential services, including health care and education.”

The statement has called on the international community to take more consistent and effective actions in the face of the Taliban’s human rights violations by pushing urgently for an end to violent reprisals and the release of those currently held arbitrarily in the group’s detention.

The statement adds that the international community “should also heed demands for a more robust accountability mechanism for investigation and evidence collection regarding human rights violations and renewing and strengthening the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan with additional resources to maintain scrutiny on the human rights situation in Afghanistan.”