UN report: Taliban restrictions limit women’s rights in Afghanistan – JURIST

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A United Nations report published Friday indicated that the Taliban’s restrictions on women’s attire and its requirement that women have a male guardian are limiting Afghan women’s freedom of movement and access to education, employment, health care and other basic rights.

The report states that many Afghan women are not leaving their homes alone due to decrees issued by the Taliban, who took control of Afghanistan in August 2021. The hardline Islamist group 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. According to the report, the presence of the mahram provides some women legitimacy to enter the public sphere, but it also limits women’s freedom of movement.

The Taliban’s Vice and Virtue Ministry has enforced these rules by issuing warnings and fines and carrying out arbitrary arrests against violators. The enforcement has prevented many women across the country from going out alone, even for trips like medical visits, education or work. The Taliban regime dismissed the report’s findings, but human rights groups have highlighted that such measures represent a rollback of women’s rights.

The UN-convened meeting of Special Envoys and Special Representatives on Afghanistan is taking place in Qatar on February 18-19, 2024 as part of discussions on the path forward regarding 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. As the Taliban continues enforcing policies confining women to homes, the aspirations of many Afghan women and girls to live freely and access education and jobs remain unfulfilled. 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.

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