In Afghanistan, women take their lives out of desperation, Human Rights Council hears |

It comes as the leading United Nations rights forum in Geneva has agreed to a request by Member States for a rare Urgent Debate on the issue this Friday.

Addressing the Council, Fawzia Koofi, a former deputy speaker of the Afghan National Assembly, said the lack of opportunities and ill mental health, had a terrible consequence: “Every day has a at least one or two women commit suicide because of lack of opportunity, because of mental health, because of the pressure they have to receive.

“The fact that nine-year-old girls are sold, not only because of economic pressure, but because of the fact that there is no hope for them, for their familiesit’s not normal. “

Bachelet highlights ‘progressive exclusion’

Causing widespread international concern among ordinary Afghans, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet condemned the massive unemployment of women, the restrictions placed on how they dress. and their access to basic services.

Ms Bachelet added that women-owned and operated businesses have been closed, saying 1.2 million girls no longer have access to secondary education, in line with the real government’s decision. economic power in August 2021.

“The de facto authorities I met during my visit in March of this year said they would respect their human rights obligations to the extent that they [being] in accordance with Sharia law.

“But Despite these guarantees, we are witnessing a gradual exclusion for women and girls from the public domain and their systematic, institutionalized oppression”.

Ms. Bachelet encouraged the re-establishment of an independent mechanism to receive complaints from the public and protect victims of gender-based violence.

“Beyond being right, it is a matter of practical necessity,” High Commissioner said. “In the context of the economic crisis, women’s contribution to economic activity is indispensable, which in itself requires access to education, freedom of movement and freedom from violence.”

‘Invisible’ women

Also speaking at Dong Nhan Quyen AssociationThe Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, described a macabre attempt by the Taliban to make women “invisible, by excluding them almost entirely from society.]

As an example of the authorities’ intention to impose “absolute gender discrimination”, the rights independent expert also noted that Women are now represented by men at Kabul’s Loya Jirgaor the council of religious scholars and elders.

Mr. Bennett stressed that such measures were contrary to Afghanistan’s obligations under various human rights treaties to which the State is a member, before adding that the situation of women “massively degrades[ed]women’s lives, deliberately attacking the autonomy, freedom and dignity of women and girls, and creating a culture of impunity for domestic violence, child marriage and trafficking, and trafficking in girls, just to name but some consequences”.

Schoolgirls at a school in Herat, Afghanistan.

© UNICEF / Sayed Bidel

Schoolgirls at a school in Herat, Afghanistan.

Promises are broken

Despite public assurances from the Taliban to respect the rights of women and girls, they are taking steps to re-establish discrimination against women and girls. Ms. Koofi, a former member of the peace talks team with the Taliban, said that fundamentalists “It’s clear that they haven’t kept their promises about what they told us during the negotiations, given their respect for the Muslim rights of women.”

Ms. Koofi added that “In fact, what they do is contrary to Islam. Our beautiful religion begins with reading. But today, the Taliban, in the name of the same religion, have deprived 55% of the society of their right to go to school.”

Afghanistan’s response

To Nasir Andisha, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations in Geneva, “The situation of women and girls in Afghanistan requires nothing more than a robust surveillance mechanism to collect, consolidate and analyze evidence of violations, document and verify information, identify identify those responsible to promote accountability and remedial measures for victims and make recommendations for effective prevention of future violations”.

A draft resolution on the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan is being negotiated at the Human Rights Council and will be considered on July 7.

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