A UN panel of experts said on Friday that the Taliban’s treatment of women may constitute a crime against humanity and must be investigated and held accountable under international law.
The UN experts stated, in a statement, that the Taliban’s latest actions against women and girls have aggravated existing human rights violations – which are “the cruellest and most brutal globally” – and may amount to persecution on the basis of gender, which is a crime against the ‘humanity, in reference to the resumption by the Taliban of the punishment of flogging which has seen its dominance.
The statement by UN-appointed experts came after the Taliban confirmed three women were among 12 people whipped in front of hundreds of spectators on Wednesday in a local sports stadium, according to the Associated Press.
On November 11, in the city of Taloqan in the northeastern province of Takhar, 10 men and 9 women were whipped with 39 lashes each in front of elders, researchers and residents at the city’s main mosque after Friday prayers. They were accused of adultery, theft and running away from homes.
The expert statement did not specifically mention instances of public flogging, but said the Taliban had beaten men accompanying women who wore colorful clothes or did not cover their faces.
Punishment of women and girls
“We are deeply concerned about such actions that aim to pressure men and boys to punish women and girls who resist the Taliban’s attempt to eliminate them, which further deprives them of their rights and normalizes violence against them,” the statement added.
The statement also urged the Taliban to restore respect for women’s rights and freedoms, release detained activists and re-allow access to schools and public places.
Panel of experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council includes Richard Bennett, Special Coordinator on the Situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan and Farida Shahid, Special Coordinator for the Right to Education.
Repulsed by the Taliban
For his part, Taliban-appointed Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Qahhar Balkhi rejected the experts’ statement and attacked the United Nations.
In a letter to the Associated Press, Balkhi listed what he called war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the United Nations organization – according to him – including “the current collective punishment of innocent Afghans with sanctions of the UN, everything in name of women’s rights and equality”.
It has been reported that since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August 2021 with the withdrawal of US and NATO forces, the movement has promised more moderate government and women’s rights.
In reality, however, he banned girls from middle and high school, barred work for most of them, and ordered them to cover themselves from head to toe. in public. Women were forbidden to go to parks, gardens, gymnasiums and festivals.
Public floggings, as well as public executions and stonings in all of Afghanistan, were among the things that accompanied the rule of the Taliban between 1996 and 2001, before they were overthrown by US forces in following the attacks of 9/11.
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