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Activists End Hunger Strike in Germany, Vow to Continue Efforts

Women activists from Afghanistan ended their 12-day-long hunger strike in western Germany but vowed to continue their fight against the Taliban’s repressive gender rules in Afghanistan.

Tamana Zaryab Paryani and several others began their strike from a small tent in Cologne on September 1, protesting the international community’s inaction regarding the Taliban’s treatment of women in Afghanistan, which they demanded to be recognized as “gender apartheid.”

They also called for a halt on financial support and official engagement with the Taliban authorities and the immediate release of political prisoners who remain in the group’s detention centers.

The hunger striker was moved to hospital because her health condition deteriorated on Saturday.

But she returned to her protest camp after spending a day in the hospital.

Today, Paryani said they ended their hunger strike after she was urged by friends and supporters who joined her campaign from different cities.

On Saturday, officials from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a deputy from the state parliament also visited the protest camp, asking the activists to end their strike.

Now, Paryani and her supporters are intending to take their protest to the streets.

Growing Attention and Support

The hunger strike spurred support from individuals and rights groups.

Women activists also staged hunger strikes in Pakistan, Sweden, Norway, and the US to join the campaign’s call and many others attended the protest in Cologne in solidarity.

Richard Bennett, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan acknowledged the hunger strike while briefing the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday.

He said that the Taliban’s systematic, widespread, institutionalized discrimination seeks to exclude women from all spheres of life, adding the group’s gender persecution has “now reached a new high of gender apartheid.”

Schahina Gambir, a member of the German parliament, brought to attention the protest on Sunday, saying the hunger strike shows the desperate situation of women in Afghanistan.

Parents of Pakistani Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai visited the protest camp on Monday to show their support and stayed with the activists until they ended their strike.

“In Afghanistan, the Taliban has deprived women of their basic human rights because of their gender,” Paryani told BBC Persian in an interview in the early days of her protest.

She said that the Taliban authorities have subjected women and girls to torture, sexual abuse, killing, and discrimination.

“Why is the international community silent in the face of a gender apartheid in Afghanistan?” Paryani questioned. “We demand the world to recognize it and take action. Our fight will continue.”