Following the collapse of the republican government, Afghanistan experienced changes in the area of human rights, particularly those of women and girls.
Women's rights restrictions, hijab decrees, and civil protests were a few of the changes that sparked domestic and international criticism.
When the Islamic Emirate came to power, the majority of women were banned from working in government agencies, and their presence in other institutions also decreased.
One of the issues that led to protests was the Ministry of Women's Affairs' transition into the Ministry of Virtue and Vice.
"The long history of women's participation in Afghanistan's political, social, economic, and cultural spheres has shown that they represent half of Afghanistan's capable population,” said Najia Anwari, a spokeswoman for the State Ministry on Peace Affairs in the previous government.
Women have frequently taken to the streets to criticize the Islamic Emirate's policies during the past year. As a result, the Islamic Emirate arrested a number of them, which led to reactions both inside and outside the nation.
"The first thing they did was to isolate women from society," said Khatera Hesar, women’s rights activist.
"Women are deprived of all of their human rights, including the right to work, the right to political involvement, the right to education, and the right to civil freedoms," said Fawzia Kofi, head of the Mawj-e-Tahawul-e-Afghanistan party.
The Islamic Emirate's leadership issued a number of decrees regarding women in the country over the course of the past 12 months.
On December 3, 2021, the leader of the Islamic Emirate issued the first six-article decree, emphasizing the provision of women's rights based on Islamic Sharia.
According to this decree, no one has the authority to give a woman to someone in return for making peace or resolving a dispute.
On May 7, 2022, the Ministry of Virtue and Vice issued a second decree requiring the hijab for women. In one of its articles, guardians of women who disobey the decree will face punishment and imprisonment.
“If a woman doesn't wear a hijab, first, her house will be located and her guardian will be advised and warned. Next, if the hijab is not considered, her guardian will be summoned. If repeated, her guardian (father, brother or husband) will be imprisoned for three days. If repeated again, her guardian will be sent to court for further punishment, the plan reads,” said Akif Mahajar, a spokesman for the Ministry of Vice and virtue.
Women and countries around the world, including international organizations, reacted to the Islamic Emirate's decrees regarding women's hijabs.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was "alarmed" that "women must cover their faces in public and leave home only in cases of necessity. I once again urge the Taliban to keep their promises to Afghan women and girls, and their obligations under international human rights law.”
“In contrary to the Taliban’s commitments, in the last three weeks many women were banned from going to their work and are marginalized. In many areas they are not even allowed to go out of home without a Muharram,” said Michel Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights.
The closing of the Independent Human Rights Commission, reported extrajudicial killings in some provinces, the uncertain future of students at public universities, restrictions on women's activities, the military's treatment of civil protests, and the difficulties faced by human rights defenders are additional human rights concerns that prompted the UN and the US to send three special envoys to monitor these events in Afghanistan.
“I call upon the de facto authorities to immediately reverse policies and directives that negatively impact women as well as to prioritize women’s and girls’ rights to equal participation in education, employment, and all other aspects of public life,” said the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, Richard Bennett.
The US special envoy for Afghanistan’s human rights and women, Rina Amiri, said there is no reason that girls are not in school and “what continues to keep sanctions in place are the Taliban’s policies against the Afghan population.”
Talking to BBC’s Yalda Hakim, Amiri said that the “Taliban rendered Afghan women invisible.”
“It is the most repressive regime in the world. It is a situation which Afghan women are describing as gender apartheid. It is the worst situation in the world,” she said. “There is no Muslim majority country in the world that supports” the actions of the Islamic Emirate, she added.
In the final days leading up to the anniversary of the Islamic Emirate's rule over Afghanistan, a group of women in Kabul once more protested against the policies of the current administration, including the imposition of restrictions on women and the dire economic situations of the country.
“We had a protest. The Taliban violated our protest. They shot into the air and detained the girls for around two to three hours. (Islamic Emirate forces) seized their phones,” a protestor said.
“The Afghan women will not take their hands away from their struggles and fights ,” said a protester.
But despite this, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has a different view on the human rights situation, particularly the rights of women and girls in the country.
"The situation of human rights in our country has improved in every manner since the arrival of the Islamic Emirate, and with the arrival of the Islamic Emirate, killings and conflicts have stopped," said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate.
Despite the Islamic Emirate's leaders' repeated requests for interaction and recognition over the past year, the focus of many countries--particularly the US and European nations—has been on protecting women's rights and upholding human rights.
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