Afghan women face brutal Taliban crackdown, Amnesty International report says

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According to Amnesty International, which published a new report on the subject on Wednesday.

Women detained after protesting for their rights describe horrific treatment including electrocution, beatings with cables and deprivation of food, water and medical care. Taliban ‘whistleblowers’ say the number of women detained for ‘moral crimes’ (being out with a man who is not a relative) is on the rise.

“The Taliban deliberately deprive millions of women and girls of their fundamental rights and subject them to systematic discrimination,” said Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International, in a statement. “If the international community does not act, it will abandon women and girls in Afghanistan and undermine human rights everywhere.

According to Amnesty International, which published a new report on the subject on Wednesday.

Women detained after protesting for their rights describe horrific treatment including electrocution, beatings with cables and deprivation of food, water and medical care. Taliban ‘whistleblowers’ say the number of women detained for ‘moral crimes’ (being out with a man who is not a relative) is on the rise.

“The Taliban deliberately deprive millions of women and girls of their fundamental rights and subject them to systematic discrimination,” said Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International, in a statement. “If the international community does not act, it will abandon women and girls in Afghanistan and undermine human rights everywhere.

The report, Death in Slow Motion: Women and Girls Under the Taliban, comes nearly a year after the Taliban returned to power last August. Since then, conditions for all Afghans have deteriorated, although the treatment of women and girls is of particular concern, with Islamists seemingly determined to drive them out of social involvement. Women have been fired from their jobs and barred from high school and indeed all higher education.

The Taliban, however, ensure that their own daughters are educated, either in private schools in Afghanistan or abroad. Many have families living outside of Afghanistan who are not subject to the restrictions they place on Afghans. Pressure from the international community, including neighbors like Iran and China, as well as the United States and the United Nations, has resulted in no concessions from the Taliban on restoring women’s freedoms . Amnesty says things have only gotten worse.

He notes that the Taliban reneged on commitments made after their return to power to “defend the rights of women and girls” and instead imposed “systematic discrimination… [that] violated the rights of these women and girls.

In the weeks and months after the Taliban took over, women took to the streets to protest restrictions that were introduced almost immediately. Many saw them as a sign of things to come, remembering the harshness of the Taliban’s previous attempt to rule the country from 1996 to 2001. Despite the Taliban’s promises, after regaining power, women were given the ordered to stay indoors and were only allowed out of their homes with a male relative as a chaperone. Clothing regulations soon followed, with attention paid to details such as how much face could be shown and a ban on perfume.

Detained and beaten protesters publicly showed their injuries. This prompted a change in tactics, according to women quoted in the Amnesty report, who said they were then beaten on areas of their bodies, such as the breasts and pubic region, which they could not show publicly .

“They did this to us so we couldn’t show the world. A soldier walking beside me hit me in the chest and said, “I can kill you right now, and no one would say anything. It happened every time we went out: we were insulted – physically, verbally and emotionally,” said a woman quoted by the report. Women have been released from arbitrary detention after being forced to sign pledges that they and their family members would not protest or speak publicly about their experiences in detention.

Amnesty said four Taliban whistleblowers revealed details of the detention and abuse of women and girls in prison-like facilities. A university student who was detained for leaving her home without a chaperone said she received electric shocks from her armed Taliban captors, who also verbally abused her and threatened to kill her. Another said her captors yelled at her that women protesting were the reason the United States froze Afghanistan’s foreign exchange reserves.

Child and forced marriages, which the Taliban routinely deny, have also soared since last August, according to the report. “The most common factors include the economic and humanitarian crisis; the lack of educational and professional prospects for women and girls; the need felt by families to protect their daughters from marriage to a Taliban member; families forcing women and girls to marry Taliban members; and Taliban members forcing women and girls to marry them,” he says.

Reports by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, prepared monthly but not made public, also refer to the vulnerability of Afghan boys and girls to exploitation by Taliban figures. Boys are sexually exploited and recruited as child soldiers or suicide bombers. Now in power, Taliban officials are taking young women as second, third and fourth wives, despite a public restraining order from leaders.

In Amnesty report, advocate describes ‘perfect storm’ of conditions for such exploitation of children: misogynistic policies, girls excluded from education, ongoing violence, poverty, unemployment, lack of safety and rule of law , drought, hunger and uncertainty. Without jobs, without money and with little food, some Afghan families feel compelled to sell their children. The report quotes a 35-year-old woman as saying she sold her 13-year-old daughter last September for the equivalent of $670, a huge sum in the impoverished country.

“She said she was also considering marrying off her 10-year-old daughter, but was hesitant to do so, as she hoped that this daughter could support the family in the future,” the report said. “She explained, ‘She went all the way to fifth grade. I wanted her to study more. She would be able to read and write, speak English and earn… I hope this girl will become something and support the family. Of course, if they don’t open the school, I’ll have to marry her off.

During the 20 years of the Western-backed Republic of Afghanistan, women’s rights have advanced significantly, particularly in the area of ​​education. Maternal and infant mortality rates have improved considerably thanks to better access to health care. Domestic violence is a criminal offense and shelters have been established across the country to provide women with refuge from abusive situations.

But the Taliban canceled all that. The Afghan Constitution, which enshrines women’s rights, is not recognized by the Taliban. Health care has been drastically reduced. Shelters for victims of domestic violence have been closed, even as domestic violence increases with the stress of the economic crisis.

The supreme leader of the Taliban, Haibatullah Akhundzada, is said to have abolished all the laws enacted during the 20 years of the republic, replaced by Sharia.

The only time things were this bad for Afghan women was the last time the Taliban was in charge, said Heather Barr, associate director of the women’s rights division at Human Rights Watch. As the Taliban took over parts of Afghanistan on their way to victory, they implemented policies against women that should have made their intentions clear once they came to power. But the international community swallowed Taliban promises that things would be different this time around.

“In accepting these assurances, the international community believed what suited them, not what Afghan women and the Taliban’s own actions then in Taliban-controlled areas told them. And since then the response has been deep concern, strongly worded statements and little more than that,” Barr said.

Some US lawmakers are trying to do a little more. Wednesday, the senses. Robert Menendez and James Risch, chairman and senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined by other senior lawmakers, urged UN Secretary General António Guterres to reimpose travel bans on Taliban leaders. “We must not stand idly by as the Taliban seek to erase the human rights of Afghan women and girls,” the senators wrote.

The UN Security Council must reconsider by August 20 waivers to travel bans on Taliban figures under terror sanction, which if lifted, Barr said, would send the message that they were responsible for their actions. If the exemptions are extended, Taliban leaders will be able to continue making diplomatic trips abroad and attempt to tighten their grip on the country.

Barr noted that the lack of response to the deliberate rollback of women’s rights by the Taliban sets a standard of acceptability for women around the world, including in developed countries like the United States, where draconian restrictions on the Abortion and other reproductive rights have already severely curtailed women’s rights.

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