Bennett asserts Afghan women, girls’ right to participate in sports

Richard Bennett, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, affirmed on Tuesday that Afghan women and girls have the right to participate in sports, calling for increased support for them both within and outside the country.

According to a report by AFP, the Taliban has stated they do not recognize the three female athletes set to represent Afghanistan at the Paris Olympic Games this month.

“Afghan women and girls have the right to participate in sport,” Bennett emphasized. He added, “I call on sport bodies to support them, inside and outside Afghanistan. Looking forward to seeing inspiring and talented Afghan women and men compete at Olympic and Paralympic games in Paris 2024.”

The six Afghan athletes who will compete in Paris include three women and three men, selected in consultation with Afghanistan’s largely exiled national Olympic committee. Five of these athletes live outside Afghanistan in exile. The only athlete training within the country is a judo fighter, while his teammates will compete in athletics and swimming.

Since the Taliban’s return to power, they have imposed severe restrictions on women and girls, including banning them from participating in sports. This has forced many Afghan female athletes to flee the country to continue their training and careers abroad.