Watchdog calls for increased pressure on Taliban over women’s rights restrictions

A number of women protesters in Kabul. Dec. 2022. File photo.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the international community to step up pressure on the Taliban in the hope of getting them to stop violating women’s rights in Afghanistan.

The organization highlighted that the Taliban’s actions are obstructing the education of women and girls and eroding their fundamental rights.

In a video released by HRW, the dire situation of women in Afghanistan is portrayed. The video highlights a distressing incident this week where the Taliban stopped 63 girls from traveling to Dubai on university scholarships.

“The international community should do more to press the Taliban to end their violations of women’s rights,” the human rights watchdog said.

Meanwhile, women across Afghanistan continue to raise their voices to demand their rights.

Mahdia Nazari, a resident of Ghazni province, has emphasized the vital role of women in society, asserting the need for schools, universities, and institutions to reopen so that women can continue their educational and professional pursuits.

Zahra, a resident of Kabul, said the critical importance of education as a pathway for women’s progress. The restrictions imposed by the Taliban have shattered hopes and created a negative impact on women’s lives.

“Women’s education is the only way for the development of Afghanistan. In the last 20 years there have been developments and hopes, but today, when this opportunity is taken away from them, obviously, it has a negative effect, and I have felt this negative effect,” said Zahra, a resident of Kabul.

Many women and girls have spoken out about the diminishing hopes and aspirations among women due to the current situation, expressing the uncertainty they face regarding their future.

“Today, all our hope and desire has been destroyed and there is no hope of gaining our goals,” said Golbahar Jafari, a Bamiyan woman.

A number of women’s rights advocates have accused the international community of neglecting the situation in Afghanistan.

Maryam Moarof Arovin, a women’s rights activist, urged the international community to stand with the people of Afghanistan in a genuine and meaningful way, rather than resorting to appeasement.

“We hope that the international community, particularly the United States, will put aside the double standard approaches and honestly stand beside the people of Afghanistan and instead of paying ransom to the Taliban,” she added.

The United Nations this year reported that more than fifty decrees were issued by the Taliban that restrict or eliminate women’s freedoms.

The U.S. Department of State and the United Nations have both underscored that recognition of the Taliban is contingent upon their commitment to respecting women’s rights.