During a United Nations meeting on Afghanistan, most countries urged pressure on the interim government for violating women’s rights. The Women’s Rights Council representative called for global support to define “gender apartheid” in international law.
Simultaneously, 11 countries, including the United States, France, Britain, Japan, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, Ecuador, Albania, and Malta, described the treatment of women and girls in Afghanistan by the interim administration as “gender-based violence” in a joint statement.
The statement said that systematic violations of women’s rights have deprived their freedoms and forced gender segregation, constituting instances of gender-based violence.
These countries called on the Taliban to revoke all restrictive policies on women’s education and work.
Representatives from various countries and the United Nations are pressing the Kabul administration, which recently saw women engage in protests, including hunger strikes, to recognize gender apartheid in Afghanistan officially.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan is a member of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
During the meeting, Sima Bahous, the Executive Director of the UN Women’s Division, stated, “Systematic and organized attacks on women by the Taliban create a pattern, and international law should define it as ‘gender apartheid.’
This comes as the interim government has issued over 50 restrictive decrees on the lives of Afghan women and girls in the past two years. United Nations discussions have predominantly revolved around women’s rights.
In response to this meeting and its messages, the Taliban officials stated that women’s education and employment are minor and internal matters, deflecting the focus of the meeting.
During the meeting, Razia Othmanbayeva, the Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, presented her quarterly report. She noted that the Taliban administration continues to violate human rights, especially women’s rights, and she is affected by these policies.
Furthermore, Karima Bennoune, a former UN rapporteur and participant in this meeting, urged the international community to hold the current regime of the Taliban accountable for implementing gender apartheid in Afghanistan.
The interim government’s ongoing violations of women’s rights have been the focal point of global discussions with the Taliban over the past two years. However, there has been no progress in the lives of Afghan women, as the Taliban believes that women’s rights are preserved within the confines of Islamic law.