Taliban curtail rights: Amnesty: Afghan women die “death in slow motion”

Taliban restrict rights
Amnesty: Afghan women die ‘death in slow motion’

Since the Taliban took power, rights and development opportunities for women in Afghanistan have been shrinking. According to one report, they are pushed out of working life and educational opportunities are taken away from them. The number of forced marriages is also increasing again.

Schools for girls closed, women being pushed out of jobs and more forced marriages: A report by the human rights organization Amnesty International paints a disastrous picture of the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan since the Taliban took power. “Women in Afghanistan are dying a death in slow motion,” the report quotes an Afghan journalist as saying.

Western countries are not entirely uninvolved in this situation, as the report shows: in 2020, a peace treaty was signed between the United States and the Taliban. There the withdrawal of US and NATO troops was agreed. What Amnesty denounces, however, is that respect for women’s rights was not part of the contract. The only thing that the Taliban should not allow the militant Islamist group al-Qaeda to do is withdraw from Afghanistan. Amnesty complains that the peace treaty was largely agreed with the exclusion of women’s rights activists.

Women and girls in Afghanistan are now paying the price: according to the Amnesty report, a lack of educational and professional opportunities has led to a growing number of forced marriages. But the prevailing humanitarian crisis is also a strong driver of forced marriages in the country. According to the report, as of April this year, 95 percent of people in Afghanistan were starved of food after the Afghan economy had slumped in the previous months.

The militant Islamists closed higher schools for girls when they seized power in August 2021 – despite Afghan media and civil society repeatedly calling for schools to be opened. Only a few privately organized schools and public schools for girls in some provinces are still open. “Millions of girls are waiting for an education,” the report quotes a young teacher as saying. Many schoolgirls would switch to online lessons or take part in privately organized lessons, but many others would have lost their motivation to learn due to a lack of prospects.

displacement from professional life

A large part of the professions are now also closed to women – however, according to the report, there are differences between the various provinces. The displacement of women from working life is primarily a problem in families in which women have been the sole breadwinners. The report also draws attention to the mistreatment of women who oppose Taliban measures. Amnesty reports detentions, torture and even disappearances of demonstrators.

It is also becoming increasingly difficult for Afghan women to escape domestic violence, since many women’s shelters are now closed. The Taliban have also restricted women’s freedom of movement: women are only allowed to travel further if they are accompanied by a male relative. Many Afghan women feel abandoned by the international community, the report said. The women and girls interviewed also called for the Taliban government not to be recognized.

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