Afghanistan nationals rally in Canada, seek end to Taliban’s restrictions on women

A group of Afghanistan activists and citizens based in Canada convened in Toronto on Sunday to condemn the “oppressive measures” imposed by the Taliban, particularly aimed at women. The activists voiced their concerns about these actions, which have systematically curtailed women’s fundamental civil rights in Afghanistan.

Since the unfortunate events of August 15, 2021, the Taliban’s leader has issued a staggering 100 decrees, with an alarming 65 percent of these directives unfairly targeting women, the activists said in a statement, adding that the decrees strip women of their ability to participate in both governmental and non-governmental sectors, access education, travel without male accompaniment, and engage in political and social activities. The most recent alarming development involved the forced closure of all women’s beauty salons.

In stark terms, the activists highlighted the dire repercussions of the Taliban’s two-year rule, which have resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of women’s jobs. The ensuing loss of livelihood has propelled many working women into the role of primary breadwinners for their families, thereby precipitating a grave humanitarian and economic crisis, as outlined in a statement by the activists.

The rally members collectively implored the United Nations and nations involved in Afghanistan’s affairs to “terminate the Doha Peace Deal that has granted the Taliban power and impunity from accountability.”

They underscored the urgent need for international collaboration in establishing an all-encompassing and legitimate government in Afghanistan, one that upholds the human rights of all, with a particular emphasis on women’s rights, and refrains from endorsing the existing regime.

To address the mounting restrictions imposed on women, the activists called for intensified international pressure on the Taliban, urging the removal of barriers to women’s education, employment, and political participation.

In a plea directed at the Canadian government, the activists sought educational scholarships for Afghan girls and women, alongside continued support for human rights advocates, journalists, and educators currently stranded in Afghanistan or neighboring countries.

Furthermore, the activists passionately appealed to the global community for the “reinstatement of robust and effective sanctions” targeting Taliban leaders, categorizing them “as the criminals they are on the world stage.”