Afghanistan: UN Human Rights Council must do more for accountability and women’s rights

The ICJ called today for the establishment of an accountability mechanism to investigate abuses and violations of international law in Afghanistan amids the widespread violations of human rights, including women rights, in the country.

The statement was delivered during the interactive dialogue on the oral update of the High Commissioner on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan and reads as follows:

“Mr President,

The Taliban are attempting to strip Afghan women of the full spectrum of their civil, political, economic, cultural, and social rights.

On 7 May, the Taliban ordered women and girls stay at home unless necessary and then only if their bodies and faced were covered. Women are rapidly losing their ability to participate in paid work outside the home, almost entirely reversing their labor market participation rate, which had increased to 22% by 2019. Girls’ secondary school education has not resumed despite months of promises by the Taliban.

These discriminatory edicts and practices, enforced by brutal displays of public violence, are widespread and systematic as akin to a sort of ‘gender apartheid.’

Reports of repression of religious and ethnic minorities, in particular the mainly Shi’a Hazara community, as well as of enforced disappearances, forcible abductions, extrajudicial killings, proliferate across the country belying the Taliban’s promises of reforming their behavior and returning Afghanistan to peace.

These restrictions aggravated the severe economic disaster facing the Afghan people, as sanctions hamper international assistance. UN figures show massive drops in income and employment leading to steep rises in food insecurity and health care emergencies.

This Council should establish an accountability mechanism to investigate abuses and violations of international law and bring the perpetrators to justice.

I thank you.”


Massimo Frigo, ICJ UN Representative, e: massimo.frigo(a), t: +41797499949

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