Amnesty International Report | Taliban responsible for ‘crimes against humanity’
Taliban leaders have committed “crimes against humanity” against Afghan women by drastically restricting their rights and must be held accountable in court.
Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) come to this conclusion in a new report released on Friday that assesses the severity of the restrictive measures imposed on women and girls in Afghanistan and the violence that the fundamentalist movement has perpetrated against them in the past. two years..
“The Taliban’s campaign of gender-based persecution is so widespread, so severe, that these actions and policies together constitute an oppressive system aimed at subjugating and marginalizing” all Afghan women, the government said in a joint statement. ICJ Secretary General, Santiago A. Canton.
There is no doubt that the ongoing “war on women” is highly organized and carried out systematically nationwide in a way that meets the criteria that define “crimes under international law”, argues for her part Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Agnès Callamard. .
Although they vowed after their return to power in the summer of 2021 to respect the rights of Afghan women, the Taliban have gradually introduced many restrictions that have turned them into “second-class citizens”.
In particular, they have restricted their freedom of movement by demanding that they cannot leave their homes without a “male chaperone” who must accompany them at all times.
Those who dare to deviate from this restriction are “harassed, arrested or beaten” shamelessly by the Taliban, notes the report, which also documented numerous cases of extrajudicial detention and torture linked to such “offense”.
Restrictions on women’s movement are accompanied by dress restrictions that have been gradually tightened, forcing the wearing of the niqab or burka.
The Taliban have also limited the positions that can be held in the civil service, and in some cases required dismissed women to nominate a male relative to replace them.
They also prohibited women from working for non-governmental organizations or the United Nations, limiting their ability to earn a living.
At the same time, women’s access to education has been restricted at the primary level, forcing many Afghan women who were pursuing university studies to abandon their career plans.
The increased economic fragility resulting from this development increases their dependence on men, as the Taliban abolished the mechanisms put in place by the previous government to facilitate the reporting of sexual violence, which is widespread in the country.
Women who dare to protest publicly against the loss of their basic rights have been severely repressed, the report points out.
Whips, metal pipes and electric weapons were especially used to discourage any protest.
Protesters were arrested in their homes several weeks after the event, imprisoned without trial and tortured, sometimes for days, before being forced to sign documents promising not to rescind their detention conditions.
The report points out that the women in question are exposed to a strong social stigma “which can last the rest of their lives” and also affect other members of their family.
Access to change
Amnesty International and the ICJ believe that the international community must strengthen its approach to the Taliban by ensuring that the provisions of international law are applied.
The International Criminal Court, which at the end of last year relaunched an investigation into crimes committed in Afghanistan, must ensure that the two organizations call for consideration of the abuses women have suffered since the Taliban’s return to power.
States are also being pressured to use the principle of universal jurisdiction to prosecute Taliban leaders traveling abroad in a way that sends a clear signal to the movement that its discriminatory policies “are unacceptable and will never be accepted”.
Given the gravity of the situation, Amnesty International and the ICJ also recommend that any woman or girl fleeing Afghanistan be considered a “de facto” refugee due to the risk of persecution in the country.
The story so far
The Taliban, which has held power for five years in Afghanistan, fled under pressure from an insurgent group actively supported by the United States after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
After two decades of fighting against the international force stationed in the country, they recaptured large swaths of territory and pushed into Kabul over the summer as the Americans withdrew their last troops.
Despite the assurances given regarding their desire to respect women’s rights, they multiply the restrictive measures and, especially in May, impose the presence of a chaperone for any trip outside the house. Their access to the university is prohibited at the end of the year.