A UN expert said on Monday that the Taliban’s treatment of Afghan women and girls may amount to gender apartheid, given how severely the de facto authorities of the country continue to violate their rights.
Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed similar concerns on the opening day of the Council’s summer session, adding that the de facto authorities had “dismantled the most fundamental principles of human rights, particularly for women and girls”.
“Grave, systematic and institutionalized discrimination against women and girls is at the heart of Taliban ideology and rule, which also gives rise to concerns that they may be responsible for gender apartheid,” UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, told the Human Rights Council in Geneva, reported Reuters.
The UN defines gender apartheid as “economic and social sexual discrimination against individuals because of their gender or sex.”
“We have pointed to the need for more exploration of gender apartheid, which is not currently an international crime but could become so,” Bennett told reporters on the sidelines of the Council.
“It appears if one applies the definition of apartheid, which at the moment is for race, to the situation in Afghanistan and use sex instead of race, then there seem to be strong indications pointing towards that.”
Since the Taliban seized power in August 2021, the group banned women from going to schools, and later in December last year, they banned women from going to universities and working with aid agencies.