Afghanistan: UN decries restrictions on women's rights

A United Nations report published Feb. 16 found that the Taliban's restrictions on women's attire and its requirement that women have a male guardian in public are limiting Afghan women’s freedom of movement and access to education, employment, health care and other basic rights. The report by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) states that many Afghan women are not leaving their homes alone due to decrees issued by the Taliban. The hardline Islamist regime has demanded women wear specific attire in public, such as the all-covering burqa, and only venture outside if accompanied by a close male relative, known as a mahram.

The Taliban's Ministry of Vice & Virtue has enforced these rules by issuing warnings and fines and carrying out arrests against violators. The enforcement has prevented many women across the country from going out alone, even for trips such as medical visits, education or work. The Taliban regime dismissed the report's findings as "propaganda against the Islamic Emirate," stating: "Islamic laws are under implementation in Afghanistan, objecting to them is a problem with Islam." But human rights groups have asserted that such measures represent a rollback of women's rights, and constitute "crimes against humanity of persecution based on gender."

The UN-convened meeting of Special Envoys & Special Representatives on Afghanistan is taking place in Qatar on Feb. 18-19 as part of discussions on the independent assessment of Afghanistan mandated by Resolution 2679. Many nations have set lifting restrictions on women's rights as a precondition to resuming frozen foreign aid to Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover in 2021. The UN and rights groups have called upon the Taliban to reverse course and uphold women's rights if they wish to gain legitimacy on the global stage.

From Jurist, Feb. 17. Used with permission.

See our last report on the Taliban's anti-woman crackdown.