Women in Afghanistan kill themselves out of desperation, Human Rights Council hears – Global Issues

This comes after the UN’s main human rights forum in Geneva agreed to a request from member states for a rare urgent debate on the issue this Friday.

Addressing the Council, Fawzia Koufi, former vice speaker of the Afghan parliament, said lack of opportunity and poor mental health are taking a toll: “Every day at least one or two women who commit suicide due to lack of opportunity, mental health, pressure they receive.

“The fact that girls at the age of nine are sold not only because of economic pressure, but also because there is no hope for them, for their familyThis not normal”.

Bachelet emphasizes “progressive exclusion”

Echoing widespread international concern about ordinary Afghans, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet denounced women’s massive unemployment, restrictions on how they dress and their access to basic services.

Businesses owned and operated by women have been shut down, Ms Bachelet said, saying 1.2 million girls no longer have access to secondary education in line with a decision by the de facto authorities that took over in August 2021.

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

“For now despite these assurances, we are seeing a gradual alienation of women and girls from the public sphere and their institutionalized, systematic repression”.

Ms. Bachelet called for the restoration of an independent mechanism to receive complaints from the public and protect victims of gender-based violence.

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

Women have become “invisible”

Also speaking at Human Rights Councilher special rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, described the Taliban’s chilling attempt to force women to “invisible, almost completely excluding them from society‘.]

As an example of the intentions of the de facto authorities to introduce “absolute gender discrimination”, the independent human rights expert also noted that women are now represented by men at the Loya Jirga in Kabulor a large assembly of religious scholars and elders.

Such measures are contrary to Afghanistan’s obligations under the numerous human rights treaties to which it is a state party, Mr. Bennett insisted, before adding that the position of women “significantly diminishes (edits) the lives of women, deliberately infringes on the autonomy, freedom and dignity of women and girls, and create a culture of impunity for domestic violence, child marriage and the sale and trafficking of girls, to name but a few of the consequences.”

Girls at a school in Herat, Afghanistan.

© UNICEF/Syed Bidel

Girls at a school in Herat, Afghanistan.

Promises broken

Despite the Taliban’s public assurances of respect for the rights of women and girls, they are step by step restoring discrimination against women and girls. Saeed Ms. Kufi, a former member of the peace talks group with the Taliban, said the fundamentalists “it is clear that they did not keep their promises about what they told us during the negotiations, in terms of their respect for women’s Islamic rights.”

Ms. Kufi added that “In fact, what they are doing is against Islam. Our beautiful religion begins with reading. But today the Taliban, under the name of the same religion, deprive 55 percent of society of the opportunity to attend school.”

Afghanistan’s response

Nasir Andisha, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN in Geneva: “The situation of women and girls in Afghanistan requires nothing less than a robust monitoring mechanism to collect, compile and analyze evidence of violations, document and verify information, identify perpetrators to ensure accountability and remedies for victims, and make recommendations. to effectively prevent future violations.”

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

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