UN Expert Calls For “all Tools” Approach To End Systematic Gender Oppression In Afghanistan

UN expert calls for “all tools” approach to end systematic gender oppression in Afghanistan

UNITED NATIONS, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 18th Jun, 2024) The Taliban’s pattern of systematic violations of women’s and girls’ fundamental rights has intensified, causing immense harm, spanning generations and all elements of society in Afghanistan, a UN expert warned Tuesday.

"The Taliban’s institutionalization of its system of oppression of women and girls, and the harms that it is continuing to entrench, should shock the conscience of humanity”, said Richard Bennett, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, who presented his latest report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“These violations are so severe and extensive that they appear to form a widespread and systematic attack on a civilian population which may amount to crimes against humanity," he said.

"This attack is not only ongoing, it is intensifying.”

Bennett called on the Taliban to take immediate steps to reverse their system of gender oppression that deprives women and girls of their fundamental rights.

The Special Rapporteur also urged an “all tools” approach to challenge and dismantle the Taliban’s institutionalized system of gender oppression and to hold those responsible to account.

This approach includes the use of international accountability mechanisms such as the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice, as well as pursuing cases at the national level under the principle of universal jurisdiction.

The Taliban swept back into power in August 2021 and swiftly began curtailing women’s rights, including imposing stricter dress codes, banning higher education for girls, excluding women from the job market, and restricting freedom of movement in public spaces, it was pointed out.

This repression is bolstered by the Taliban’s use of violence, mainly through murder, enforced disappearance, torture, rape and other inhumane acts, according to the UN expert’s latest report.

Since the Taliban takeover, a series of verbal and written decrees have effectively eliminated the fundamental freedoms of Afghan women and girls, with violence being used to enforce their edicts.

According to the report, the systematized oppression will disempower Afghan women across generations, ingraining their inferior socioeconomic status and State-enforced dependence on men.

Bennett said he is firmly of the viewpoint that “gender apartheid” most fully encapsulates this ongoing injustice, given its institutionalised and ideological nature.

The Human Rights Council-appointed expert is recommending Member States recognize the concept of gender apartheid and propel its codification. He believes doing so will effectively address the unmatched human rights crisis confronting Afghan women.

Bennett said he opposed any legitimization of the Taliban leadership until concrete, measurable, and verified improvements on human rights take place.

“Afghans, in particular Afghan women and girls, have shown tremendous bravery and determination in the face of Taliban oppression. The international community must match this with protection and solidarity, including decisive and principled action, which places human rights front and centre,” the UN expert added.