On International Women’s Day, Bennett calls on Taliban to free women’s rights defenders

UNITED NATIONS — Marking International Women’s Day, the UN’s special rapporteur for human rights in Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, demanded the Taliban “immediately and unconditionally” release women human rights defenders.

Bennett expressed solidarity with Afghan women and girls, highlighting their “unparalleled level of institutional and systemic discrimination” and commended their courage, creativity, and leadership in advocating for their rights.

The UN envoy appealed to the Taliban to uphold “all human rights of women and girls in Afghanistan,” including their right to education, work, freedom of movement and expression, and cultural rights. He emphasized the importance of Afghan women and girls’ meaningful and equal participation in public life.

Bennett reiterated his call for the immediate and unconditional release of those detained for defending human rights, particularly the rights of women and girls. Since their return to power, the Taliban has imposed severe restrictions, including closing schools for girls above grade six, banning university education for women, and prohibiting women from working at NGOs.