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    Afghan Women Face Death in Slow Motion, Says Amnesty Study

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    Afghan Women Face Death in Slow Motion, Says Amnesty Study

    The report follows a nine-month investigation conducted from September 2021 to June 2022 and included a visit to Afghanistan by the group’s researchers back in March. They interviewed 90 women and 11 girls between 14 and 74 years old across the country.

    A “suffocating” Taliban crackdown on human rights is destroying the lives of Afghan women and girls,’ according to a report released by Amnesty International.

    The radical group has systematically violated women’s and girls’ rights to education, work, and free movement, the organisation says in its report on the status of women and girls under Taliban rule.

    Titled, Death in Slow Motion, the report says that in less than a year since it took over, the Taliban’s all-male government has decimated the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan. It says that the Taliban have violated women’s and girls’ rights to education, work and free movement; demolished the system of protection and support for women and girls fleeing domestic violence; arbitrarily detained women and girls for infractions of the Taliban’s discriminatory rules; and contributed to a surge in the rates of child, early and forced marriage in Afghanistan. The Amnesty study says that women who peacefully protested against these restrictions and policies have been harassed, threatened, arrested, forcibly disappeared, detained and tortured.

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    The report has documented how women who peacefully protested the increasingly oppressive rules have been threatened, arrested, detained, tortured, and forcibly disappeared.

    “Less than one year after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, their draconian policies are depriving millions of women and girls of their right to lead safe, free, and fulfilling lives,” said Amnesty’s Agnes Callamard.

    Domestic violence

    The report says, “The scope, magnitude and severity of the Taliban’s violations against women and girls are increasing month by month.”

    The report comprises the results of a nine-month investigation conducted from September 2021 to June 2022 and included a visit to Afghanistan by the group’s researchers back in March. They interviewed 90 women and 11 girls between 14 and 74 years old across the country.

    Amnesty said the Taliban has also decimated protections for those facing domestic violence, detained women and girls for minor violations, and triggered a surge in child marriages.

    Among the instances documented, there is the grim case of women detained for protesting describing torture at the hands of Taliban guards, including beatings and threats of death.

    In one case, a woman told Amnesty’s researchers that guards beat her and other women on the breasts and between the legs “so that we couldn’t show the world.” She said one told her, “I can kill you right now, and no one would say anything.”

    “Taken together, these policies form a system of repression that discriminates against women and girls in almost every aspect of their lives,” the report said. “This suffocating crackdown against Afghanistan’s female population is increasing day by day.”

    It says, “Women and girls arbitrarily detained due to alleged “moral corruption” or for fleeing abuse have been denied access to legal counsel and subjected to torture and other ill-treatment as well as inhuman conditions in detention.

    Child marriages

    To quote from the report, “One university student was detained in 2022 on charges related to the Taliban’s mahram restrictions. She said that soon after her arrest, Taliban members “started giving me electric shocks [with a taser]… on my shoulder, face, neck, everywhere they could… They were calling me a prostitute [and] a bitch… The one holding the gun said, ‘I will kill you, and no one will be able to find your body.’” She said that like all women and girls detained by the Taliban, her detention would stigmatize her for life. “For an Afghan girl, going to prison is no less than death… Once you enter the door, you are labelled, and you cannot erase it.””

    In another case, Khorsheed, a 35-year-old woman from a central province of Afghanistan, told Amnesty that she was forced her to marry her 13-year-old daughter to a 30-year-old neighbour in exchange for a “bride price” of 60,000 Afghanis (around US$670). She said that after her daughter’s marriage, she felt relieved, saying that “She won’t be hungry anymore.”

    Khorsheed said she was considering marrying off her 10-year-old daughter as well, though reluctantly, as she hoped this daughter might provide for the family in the future. She explained, “She went all the way to fifth grade. I wanted her to study more. She would be able to read and write, and speak English, and earn… I have a hope that this daughter will become something, and she will support the family. Of course, if they don’t open the school, I will have to marry her off.”

    Amnesty’s report comes merely days after German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told Radio Free Europe that Afghan women are experiencing “the biggest violation of women’s rights on Earth” since the Taliban took over.

     

    Image: Kiana Hayeri / Amnesty International

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