Two leading rights groups on Friday described the Taliban's strict restrictions on women and girls in Afghanistan as gender-based oppression and a crime against humanity.
In a new report, Amnesty International and the International Commission for Jurists, or ICJ, described how the Taliban has cracked down on the rights of Afghan women, including imprisonment, enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment. is being targeted. These actions of the Taliban can be brought to the International Criminal Court regarding gender-based persecution under international law.
An Amnesty and ICJ report titled "The Taliban's War on Women: Gender-Based Violence in Afghanistan as a Crime Against Humanity" cited the ICC Statute. In this law, persecution on the basis of gender has been declared as a crime against humanity.
The Taliban has regained power in Afghanistan after 20 years in August 2021. Despite initial promises of more moderate governance, the Taliban began imposing restrictions on women and girls soon after taking power. Women were barred from public places and most jobs. Education of girls beyond sixth standard has been banned.
The strict orders were already drawing heavy criticism against the Taliban. The Taliban administration is not officially recognized by the United Nations and the international community.
In the report, ICJ Secretary General Santiago A. Canton said that the actions of the Taliban are so extreme and so systematic that they can be described as sexual persecution and crimes against humanity.
Both organizations called on the International Criminal Court to include the crime in its ongoing investigation into what is happening in Afghanistan and to prosecute. He also called upon various countries to exercise international jurisdiction and hold the Taliban accountable under international law.
The report also accused the Taliban of detaining and forcibly disappearing women and girls participating in peaceful protests and torturing them during their detention. They are also forced to sign "confessions" or "agreements" not to protest again.
Amnesty Secretary-General Agnes Callamard said what is happening in Afghanistan is a "war on women" that amounts to "international crimes". He called on the international community to "end this system of sexual oppression and persecution."
Amnesty has also documented cases of forced marriages of women and girls with members of the Taliban and attempts to force them into such marriages. The report said that those who refused such marriages were abducted, threatened and tortured.
The report cited the August 2021 case of a 15-year-old girl in the northeastern province of Takhar who was forced to marry a Taliban figure despite her family's objections. Similarly, the case of a 33-year-old female journalist and social worker who was forced to marry a Taliban commander in September 2021, a month after the arrival of the Taliban, was cited.
The report said that the Taliban have also targeted journalists, human rights activists and ethnic minorities.
Amnesty and the ICJ also shared a summary of the report's findings with the Taliban-appointed Foreign Ministry in Kabul and requested a response. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to the report.