Women's Rights in Afghanistan
As the world’s attention quickly shifts from one crisis to another the human catastrophe in Afghanistan persists. Afghans are once again robbed of their fundamental human rights particularly women and girls. It is imperative to tell the world of the abuses occurring daily in Afghanistan and to make the international community accountable for its obligations toward Afghans and Afghanistan.
Since the Taliban abducted the control of Kabul in August 2021 human rights have been abridged in Afghanistan, as most teenage females are not allowed to return to secondary school and are not permitted to work in most fields except for health and education. Most schools were closed except in Kunduz, Balkh, and Sar-e- Pul provinces according to Pajhwok News in April 2022. Even when schools and other educational institutions were open instructors and students were intimidated and harassed, which resulted in poor attendance rates, particularly among girls.
Women have been told to hide their faces in public and are not allowed to travel alone if the distance to the destination exceeds 70 kilometers (40 miles). The murky regulations and tense environment promote caution and limit freedom of movement. Our morale is affected by what we see the Taliban do to women. The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s presidential government, which controlled Afghanistan from 2004 until the Taliban overthrew it in 2021 established a strong human rights framework into its constitution.
Moreover, chapter two of the Afghan Constitution of 2004 included a bill of rights. Under the constitution everyone is entitled to a fair trial, the right to live and the right to the presumption of innocence. As a result, all citizens in the Islamic Republic were given access to a robust human rights framework. Hibatullah Akhundzada the reclusive leader of the Taliban struck out in July 2022 in response to the international community’s criticism and demands regarding the Taliban’s limits on human rights. He rejected negotiations and midpoints regarding his “Islamic system” of rule.
Women lost all of their rights during the initial Taliban regime. The freedom to roam freely and apply for jobs was severely constrained. The Taliban insisted on protecting women from harm by forcing them to remain indoors. What’s more interesting is that the Taliban think they are managers and directors sent by Allah to stop women from using technology. Women’s technology usage is restricted which hinders their ability to access information especially information related to their fields. Women are instructed not even to possess smartphones as it is not suitable for their sanity. They advised ladies to retain basic phones with few features to remain pure. The Taliban administration has abused Afghan women’s human rights to an unprecedented degree in recent memory.
When they forbid women from working, it becomes a kind of abuse. When they prevent young people from receiving an education, it is cruelty. They have robbed them of all hope, which is brutality. They use terror to rule. Observing a nation that dwells in despair is terrible. Despite Taliban pledges that women’s rights would be upheld the meager advancement gained over the preceding two decades was swiftly undone. Furthermore, the Taliban highly restricted media freedom despite promises to protect free speech. Journalists were arrested, physically assaulted, and had their equipment seized, mainly when reporting protests. Women in particular who work in the media were pressured, humiliated and attacked, which led to several of them going into hiding or leaving the country. Inquiries were made home to home for journalists, especially for western media. Taliban fighters burst into the residence of a reporter for the German news organization Deutsche Welle on August 20, 2021. They murdered one of his family members and wounded another after failing to locate him. The Taliban implemented broad prohibitions on freedom of speech and expression and the media in September including bans on “insulting national figures” and stories that would “affect the public’s attitude.” Two journalists from the Etilaat-e Roz media organization were taken into custody by Taliban security forces on September 7 and severely beaten before being released according to (IPI) International Press Institute media. The journalists had been reporting female protests in Kabul. The Taliban imprisoned at least 32 journalists after they seized control of Kabul.
Hamid Karzai the president of Afghanistan signed a “Shia Family Law” in late March 2009 that has been widely denounced and includes provisions that allow child marriage, purdah for married Afghan women and what appears to be marital rape in Article 132. President Karzai was attempting to win over Shia lawmakers in the northern regions of Afghanistan and the Shia dominated Islamic Republic of Iran which lies next door. However, the offending legislation is claimed to have been dormant for a year. The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 could not be implemented, despite the government’s numerous promises. Only two women were among the 47 government and international delegates at the Kabul peace negotiations in June 2017.
On the grounds of sexual orientation under the Taliban, being a homosexual or a cross-dresser was a capital offense since these offenses are now only punishable by lengthy prison terms. In addition, the international community, particularly the US has adopted decisions and stances that have denied Afghanistan access to relief funds and the world financial system putting the country’s citizens amid an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Since August, when women ‘s judicial and other supportive systems started to fall, particularly when women’s shelters closed violence against women has increased. Women were in danger of more incredible abuse due to the Taliban’s removal of institutional and legal protection for them and many were afraid to report occurrences for fear of repercussions. Thirty-three killings were among the 1,518 incidences of violence against women that the (MoWA) Ministry of women affairs recorded. The primary forms of violence against women include beatings, intimidation, enforced prostitution, withholding forced and underage marriages. Government information for the 2nd quarter of the year wasn’t accessible.
As they say, “If you educate a man, you educate an individual. But if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.” Education under Taliban rule became prohibited for girls when post- communist Mujahid-led government collapsed. The educational infrastructure in Afghanistan has been devastated by the country’s 23-year war, which has vastly increased the illiteracy rate in the country. There is a high demand, and there has been significant growth in adult and child educational involvement since 2001. Millions of girls showed up surprisingly when schools reopened in 2002, and enrollment has increased enormously. More than a million non-formal education participants registered including 5,000 girls engaged in informal, vocational, Islamic, and teacher training programs (UCL, 2022).
Despite all the obstacles they faced over the years, women made amazing progress in business, sports, education, and politics. Girls were banned once more by the Taliban from attending school beyond grade six, and likewise, women were restricted from working outside after Afghanistan fell on August 15, 2021. I believe Human rights organizations worldwide must collectively demand justice and accountability for the Afghan people. International communities can also take more meaningful actions to safeguard the people in Afghanistan who are trapped between Taliban abuses and a humanitarian crisis .
I understand that women can make excellent politicians, doctors, engineers, lawyers, and teachers to serve their country and educate their families and communities. Let’s raise our voices together to make the Taliban know that Afghanistan is part of mother earth and that all humanity can raise their voice for the right of Afghan women.