UNAMA urges release of women detained for alleged dress code violations in Afghanistan

Women’s protest in Kabul. 2022. File Photo.

UNITED NATIONS — Stéphane Dujarric, the United Nations spokesman, at a Monday press briefing, stated that the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is calling for the immediate release of women and girls “arbitrarily” arrested for allegedly violating the Taliban’s dress code.

“The UN mission in Afghanistan is deeply concerned about the recent arbitrary arrests and detentions by the de facto authorities for alleged non-compliance with the Islamic dress code,” Dujarric said.

He reported that UNAMA is investigating claims of mistreatment and incommunicado detention, noting that religious and ethnic minorities seem disproportionately affected by the Taliban’s actions.

“The UN Mission fears this crackdown is leading to greater isolation of women due to the threat of arbitrary arrest and is enabling men to impose repressive measures domestically,” Dujarric added.

UNAMA has raised these concerns with the de facto authorities, including the Taliban Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, demanding the release of all detainees.

Sources indicate that in early January, the Taliban arrested numerous women and girls from Kabul, Daikundi, Balkh, and Kunduz provinces for what they term “bad hijab,” sparking widespread backlash.