A group of UN human rights experts warned on Monday against attempts to "steadily erase women and girls from public life," the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a recent statement.
The experts said that large-scale and systematic gender-based discrimination and violence against women and girls has been ongoing since the fall of the former government. “Taken together, these policies constitute a collective punishment of women and girls, grounded on gender-based bias and harmful practices,” the experts said. “Today, we are witnessing the attempt to steadily erase women and girls from public life in Afghanistan including in institutions and mechanisms that had been previously set up to assist and protect those women and girls who are most at risk.”
According to the experts, women and girls in Afghanistan are being pushed out of public life. “We are concerned about the continuous and systematic efforts to exclude women from the social, economic, and political spheres across the country.”
The Islamic Emirate denied that it has imposed any type of restrictions on women and said that women are continuing to work in government departments.
“No restrictions are imposed on women. Women are working in government departments. The plan to include women in the formation of the new government is under discussion,” said Ahmadullah Wasiq, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.
The human rights experts said these concerns are exacerbated in the cases of women from ethnic, religious, or linguistic minorities. The experts have also raised concerns over the risk of exploitation of women and girls including trafficking for the purposes of child and forced marriage, sexual exploitation and forced labor.
Some Afghan women's rights activists said that the challenges for women have been rising since the Islamic Emirate swept into power.
“Women are struggling with challenges in a variety of ways since the Taliban has come into power,” said Tamana Zaryab, a women rights activist.
According to the experts, barring women from returning to their jobs, requiring a male relative to accompany them in public spaces, prohibiting women from using public transportations on their own, and denying secondary and tertiary education for girls are the policies being implemented for the exclusion of women. “In addition to severely limiting their freedom of movement, expression and association, and their participation in public and political affairs, these policies have also affected the ability of women to work and to make a living, pushing them further into poverty,” the experts said.
The experts also called on the international community to step up the needed humanitarian assistance for the people of Afghanistan to prevent further deterioration of the situation in the country. According to the experts, the humanitarian crisis in the country has been more devastating for women, children, minorities and female-headed households.
The experts have also called on the international community to hold the Islamic Emirate accountable and also to observe human rights and immediately remove restrictions on women and girls’ fundamental rights.