Threatened, beaten and risking arrests, Afghan women defy Taliban with protests

The lives of women and girls in Afghanistan are being devastated by the Taliban crackdown on their human rights.

  • Women protesters detained, forcibly disappeared and tortured
  • Women and girls swept up in arrests and detained for ‘moral corruption’
  • Huge increase in child, early and forced marriages

Since they took control of the country in August 2021, the Taliban have violated women’s and girls’ rights to education, work and free movement; decimated the system of protection and support for those fleeing domestic violence; detained women and girls for minor violations of discriminatory rules; and contributed to a surge in the rates of child, early and forced marriage in Afghanistan.

Women and Girls Under Taliban Rule, also reveals how women who peacefully protested against these oppressive rules have been threatened, arrested, detained, tortured, and forcibly disappeared.

This suffocating crackdown against Afghanistan’s female population is increasing day-by-day

Less than one year after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, their draconian policies are depriving millions of women and girls of their right to lead safe, free and fulfilling lives.

“Taken together, these policies form a system of repression that discriminates against women and girls in almost every aspect of their lives. Every daily detail – whether they go to school, if and how they work, if and how they leave the house – is controlled and heavily restricted.

“This suffocating crackdown against Afghanistan’s female population is increasing day-by-day. The international community must urgently demand that the Taliban respect and protect the rights of women and girls.”

Detention and torture of peaceful protesters

Since seizing control of Afghanistan in August 2021, the Taliban have been the country’s de facto authorities. Despite initial public commitments to uphold the rights of women and girls, the Taliban introduced policies of systematic discrimination that violate their rights.

Women and girls across Afghanistan reacted to this crackdown with a wave of protests. In response, the Taliban targeted protesters with harassment and abuse, arbitrary arrest and detention, enforced disappearance, and physical and psychological torture.

Womens said that after photos were posted of a fellow protester’s injuries on social media, Taliban members developed a new strategy to prevent them from showing their injuries publicly.

Arbitrary arrest and detention, including for ‘moral corruption’

Taliban has increasingly arrested and detained women and girls for minor violations of their discriminatory policies, such as the rule against appearing in public without a mahram [male chaperone] or with a man who does not qualify as a mahram. Those arrested are usually charged with the ambiguous ‘crime’ of ‘moral corruption’.

One university student, who was detained in 2022, told Amnesty International that she was threatened and beaten after being arrested on charges related to the mahram restrictions.

Child, early and forced marriage

The rates of child, early and forced marriage in Afghanistan are surging under Taliban rule. The key causal factors for the increase include the economic and humanitarian crisis; the lack of educational and professional prospects for women and girls; families forcing women and girls to marry Taliban members; and Taliban members forcing women and girls to marry them.

Lack of access to education

The Taliban continue to block education for the vast majority of secondary school girls. Their scheduled return to school on 23 March 2022 was short-lived. Later the same day, the Taliban sent the girls home, citing a “technical issue” related to their uniforms. Four months later, the Taliban continues to deny girls’ access to education.

At university level, the Taliban’s harassment of female students – as well as restrictions on students’ behaviour, dress and opportunities – has created an unsafe environment where female students are systematically disadvantaged. Many female students have now either stopped attending, or decided not to enrol in university at all.

The Taliban are deliberately depriving millions of women and girls of their human rights, and subjecting them to systematic discrimination.

Courtesy : Amnesty International

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