Human Rights Council Criticizes Women’s Conditions in Afghanistan at Geneva Conference
At the United Nations Human Rights Council conference, representatives from various countries expressed their disapproval of the Taliban‘s stringent restrictions on women in Afghanistan, including their prohibition of girls‘ education. A representative of the German government denounced the Taliban for blatantly disregarding the rights of Afghan women and girls and declared that penalties would be imposed on them. The Norwegian government‘s representative also declared that his country supports women‘s and girls‘ rights as well as the courageous work of human rights defenders all around the world, including in Afghanistan and Iran. Additionally, the chairman of Saudi Arabia‘s human rights commission urged the Taliban to reconsider their views on women. However, the Taliban maintains that the countries‘ concerns regarding Afghan women are unfounded and asserts that they protect women‘s rights in accordance with Afghan tradition and Islamic law.
On Tuesday, February 28th, the city of Geneva, France, hosted the 52nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. During this summit, representatives from various countries expressed their outrage at the denial of employment and education to Afghan women and girls. German Foreign Minister Annalena Charlotte Alma Baerbock referred to the Taliban‘s treatment of Afghan women as “barbaric“ and declared that penalties would be imposed on them for violating the rights of Afghan women and girls. She further stated that the most egregious and widespread violation of human rights against women in Afghanistan is what is currently being witnessed. “These acts must have consequences,” she warned, “which is why the European Union is putting pressure on those who violate women‘s rights with severe sanctions.”
At the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, Saudi Arabia and Norway expressed their concern regarding the restriction on girls‘ education in Afghanistan and their support for Afghan women and girls. Anniken Huitfeldt, the foreign minister of Norway, stated in this gathering that his country supports the rights of women and girls as well as the courageous work of human rights activists all over the world, particularly in Afghanistan and Iran.
Hala bint Mazyad Al–Tuwaijri, the head of Saudi Arabia‘s human rights commission, implored the Taliban to reevaluate their position on women. She stated, “My country (Saudi Arabia) wishes and hopes that the interim government will reconsider its decision and grant women their rights without discrimination in regards to the provisional government of Afghanistan‘s decision to allow young Afghan women to pursue higher education.”
Furthermore, Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations, has referred to the concerning reports on the human rights situation in certain countries, such as Afghanistan, while emphasizing the importance of human rights globally during this conference.
The Taliban‘s deputy spokesperson, Bilal Karimi, stated in a video message that the Islamic Emirate is managing the internal affairs of Afghanistan in accordance with Islamic principles and beliefs of the citizens, and that other countries should not be worried about women‘s rights in the country as they are upheld in accordance with Islamic laws.
Hussain Ibrahim Taha, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, stated at a conference with the ambassadors of this organization that the recent directives of the Taliban commander prohibiting women from working and receiving an education were contrary to the teachings of those who have studied Islam, as reported by Nasir Ahmad Faiq, the head of Afghanistan’s Permanent Mission to the UN.
The United Nations Human Rights Council convened its 52nd meeting in Geneva, France, with delegates from numerous countries in attendance. This meeting is expected to last for the next six weeks, during which representatives of the countries and the United Nations will discuss and exchange views on major global issues, such as the protests by Iranian citizens, the dire situation in Afghanistan, and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as per the reports that have been made public.
The Taliban have imposed significant restrictions on women‘s rights, and the international community‘s efforts to address this issue have not yet yielded any visible results. According to the Taliban‘s regulations, women have been denied a range of basic rights, such as the right to education, employment, freedom of dress, travel, visiting amusement parks and public baths, and many others. Heather Barr, Deputy Director of the Women‘s Division at Rights Watch, has noted that the crisis in women‘s rights in Afghanistan has not been given the attention it deserves by the international community.
Furthermore, the international community has adopted an interactive approach in an effort to address human rights issues through dialogue with the Taliban. Nevertheless, the Taliban have not demonstrated any inclination to relax their oppressive regulations against Afghans, particularly women.