Afghanistan, the restrictions that the Taliban impose on women are gender-based persecution and constitute a crime against humanity

Afghanistan, the restrictions that the Taliban impose on women are gender-based persecution and constitute a crime against humanity

ROME - The Taliban's continued severe restrictions on women and the illegal repression of their rights should be investigated as gender-based crimes against humanity, they write. Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists in a new report on which the two organizations worked together.

Crimes against humanity. The file, entitled "The Taliban's War on Women: The Crime Against Humanity of Gender-Based Persecution in Afghanistan", presents a detailed legal analysis of how the Taliban's restrictions on the rights of Afghan women, together with the use of imprisonment, enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment, could constitute a crime against humanity under the Statute of Rome of the International Criminal Court. Ever since they took power, the Taliban have started a gender war. Afghans cannot study or work, they cannot move freely, they are imprisoned or tortured only if they allow themselves to criticize the political choices of the country or attempt to rebel against the ongoing repression."These are international crimes. And they are organized, widespread and systematic crimes," comments Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

The bans. The number of impositions flocked in this period of time ranging from August 2021 to today has meant that any presence of women in public life has been canceled. The decrees of 24 December 2022 and 4 April 2023 prevent women from working in NGOs and United Nations agencies. Women cannot travel alone, they must always be guided by a mahram, or a male companion. They have to stay at home, unless absolutely necessary to go out. They cannot choose what to wear because there is a strict code of ethics which simultaneously violates both their freedom of movement and the freedom to choose what to wear in public.

Moral crimes. Anyone who abuses one of the rules listed above commits a "moral crime". Just as it is a moral crime to participate in a peaceful demonstration against the ongoing suppression of rights. Women who dared to protest or rebel were arbitrarily arrested, detained, some went missing, others suffered torture after which they confessed and promised never to participate in protests against the de facto Taliban government again.

Forced marriages. It is perhaps one of the most heinous crimes against women. Forced marriage of 7- or 8-year-old girls was widespread in the country even before the return of the Taliban, but the practice has been on the rise since August 2021. One explanation is that Afghanistan is experiencing an unprecedented economic and humanitarian crisis, so families are selling their girls to get money. As a source of the report put it: "If I give my niece to another family, I will have the money I need and she will have a better life." Other factors, however, concern the discriminatory policies of the Taliban, because preventing women from studying and then working means, in fact, excluding them, making them invisible and therefore even forced marriage becomes, in the eyes of many, an almost necessary option. Amnesty International has documented both cases of women forced to marry Taliban agents and attempted marriages, which did not have the consent of either the female or the family. But the Taliban "law" can reserve everything for women and girls who refuse marriage: kidnappings, intimidation, threats, torture, disappearances.

Second class citizens. The restrictions against women and girls are clearly designed - write the two organizations - to specifically target them. Afghan women are forced to live as second-class citizens. They are silenced and made invisible. These measures reflect a policy of gender-based persecution, further confirmed by the cancellation of an institutional framework of support for victims of gender-based violence.

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