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UN Appeals To Declare 'Gender Apartheid' In Afghanistan: Details Here

The head of the United Nations Women has called upon the UN Security Council to lend support to governments aiming to officially classify the escalating crackdown on girls and women by Afghanistan's Taliban rulers as gender apartheid.

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Nikita Gupta
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Image Credits: Ebrahim Noroozi For AP News.

The head of the United Nations agency dedicated to promoting gender equality has called upon the UN Security Council to lend support to governments aiming to officially classify the escalating crackdown on women and girls by Afghanistan's Taliban rulers as gender apartheid.

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Session Details

Roza Otunbayeva, who leads the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), raised concerns about the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. She posed questions about the fate of Afghan girls, whether they were university students forced into exile to continue their education, or qualified professionals who, until a few months ago, pursued careers but are now confined to their homes.

Highlighting the more than 50 decrees issued by the Taliban to exclude women from public life and education, Otunbayeva referenced a recent report indicating that over 46 percent of Afghan women believe the Taliban should not be recognised under any circumstances.

Sima Bahous, the executive director of UN Women, emphasized the significant reduction in women's influence in decision-making across all levels. She noted that restrictions, enforced more frequently and harshly, often by male family members, have resulted in a rise in child marriages.

Bahous pointed out that a striking 90 percent of young women surveyed reported experiencing poor or very poor mental health, and incidents of suicide and suicidal thoughts are widespread. Afghan women continue to urge international actors to employ all available means, including sanctions with no exceptions for travel and non-recognition, to exert pressure for change.

Echoing the call for a special session of the General Assembly to address the critical issue, Afghanistan's representative stressed that Afghan women and girls are enduring a state of "gender apartheid."

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"The situation in Afghanistan remains dire, with 97 percent of the population living in poverty, pervasive fear of retribution for perceived violations of the Taliban's strict interpretation of Islamic law, and severe restrictions on the mobility, education, and participation in public life for women and girls," said Afghanistan's representative.

Taliban's Takeover

In August 2021, the Taliban assumed control of Afghanistan as U.S. and NATO forces withdrew after two decades of conflict. Similar to their previous rule from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban gradually reintroduced their strict interpretation of Islamic law, known as Sharia.

The new law included prohibiting girls from attending school beyond the sixth grade and restricting women from most employment opportunities, public activities, access to gyms, and more recently, shutting down beauty salons.


Suggested Reading: UN Reveals 1600 Human Rights Violations In Taliban-Owned Afghanistan

United Nations afghan women and taliban UN Women gender apartheid Taliban Afghanistan women
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