UN Says Taliban Systematically Erasing Women, Girls From Public Life

UN experts said that Taliban leaders are institutionalizing large-scale, systematic gender-based discrimination, violence against Afghan women and girls.

In a statement, the experts said since August 2021 a series of restrictive measures have been introduced since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, particularly those concerning women and girls.

“Taken together, these policies constitute a collective punishment of women and girls, grounded on gender-based bias and harmful practices,” the experts said.

“We are concerned about the continuous and systematic efforts to exclude women from the social, economic, and political spheres across the country,” the experts lamented.

According to the experts, these concerns are exacerbated in the cases of women from ethnic, religious, or linguistic minorities such as the Hazara, Tajik, Hindu, and other communities whose differences or visibility make them even more vulnerable in Afghanistan.

The experts also noted the increased risk of exploitation of women and girls including trafficking for the purposes of child and forced marriage as well as sexual exploitation and forced labor.

“In addition to severely limiting their freedom of movement, expression and association, and their participation in public and political affairs, these policies have also affected the ability of women to work and to make a living, pushing them further into poverty,” the experts said.

The vast majority of girls’ secondary schools remain closed and the majority of girls who should be attending grades 7-12 are being denied access to school, based solely on their gender.

The experts reiterated their call to the international community to step up urgently needed humanitarian assistance for the Afghan people, and the realization of their right to recovery and development.

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