UN experts urge Taliban to swiftly reverse increasingly harsh curbs on women, girls

UNITED NATIONS: UN experts, marking the 2nd anniversary of Taliban’s rule, Monday accused them of violating many human rights including implementing a system of total discrimination, exclusion and subjugation of Afghan women and girls, and called for an immediate reversing of the harsh measures the de facto authorities have enforced. The gap between promises and practices by Afghanistan’s de facto authorities has widened and the idea of a “reformed” Taliban has been exposed as mistaken, the experts said in a joint statement. “Despite reassurances by the Taliban de facto authorities that any restrictions, particularly in terms of access to education would be temporary, the facts on the ground have demonstrated an accelerated, systematic, and all engulfing system of segregation, marginalization and persecution,” he said.

Women have even been denied the ability to seek comfort in some of their own spaces such as beauty salons that were frequented and run by women, as these have been recently ordered to close. “More widely,” the experts said, “promises for a more inclusive form of government did not materialize; the amnesty for former government and military officials is being violated; guidelines to stop torture and ill treatment in detention centers are too often ignored, minorities are marginalized and suffer discrimination despite promises of inclusion, and lawyers, judges, prosecutors and other actors involved with the legal system face grave security risks. “The de facto authorities have introduced the use of cruel and undignified punishments, such as stoning, flogging and burying under a wall in contravention of international human rights standards.

The concept of a “reformed” Taliban has been exposed as mistaken, it was pointed out. The experts called on the international community to commit to the people of Afghanistan with renewed vigour and increased unity, and take decisive actions by: — Ensuring political engagement with all Afghan interlocutors manifests a human rights centered and gender integrated approach; — Bridging the funding gap of the humanitarian response plan, and devising ways to provide aid that directly reaches the Afghan people, including displaced populations and host communities, while utililizing exemptions within sanction regimes; — Supporting investigation and accountability mechanisms for human rights violations to avoid their recurrence and address impunity; — Recognizing the treatment of women and girls by the Taliban as gender persecution; — Granting refugee status to all Afghan women and girls on the basis of human rights violations against them stemming from the discriminatory policies and practices instituted by the de facto authorities; — Stepping up its commitment to Afghan refugees and migrants by ensuring that refugee status can be granted on the basis of gender persecution, that refugees and migrants are received in a dignified manner and that they are protected against refoulment and mistreatment, and, — Backing initiatives by Afghan women leaders and thinkers, and civil society groups, operating inside and outside Afghanistan to explore practical avenues to promote human rights values and principles.

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