Review of Afghan Human Rights in 2023

The UN special rapporteur voiced concern over the deterioration of human rights within the past two-years.

In 2023, the human rights issue, especially the women and girls, was one of the issues that faced reactions of various countries.

Compliance with human rights especially women’s rights and the girls going to school and universities, is the issue that the world says is a condition for recognition of the Islamic Emirate.

Speaking to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, said: “The donor community has said there will only be aid where women are involved. Where women are not involved, the aid will not be present. So, the pressure goes on in order to guarantee that we have women working in the humanitarian sector. In the public services, only very few women are working and we are fighting hard to increase it.”  (14/03/2023)

At the UN Security Council meeting on the situation in Afghanistan, the US deputy ambassador to the UN, Robert Wood, said: “The United States hears their requests and will not consider any significant steps toward normalization of relations with the Taliban until women and girls have meaningful access to education, the workforce, and other aspects of social and political life. Indeed, the international community as a whole has spoken out against these indefensible restrictions.” (21/12/2023)

The UN Special Rapporteur for Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, said the recognition of women’s rights by the interim government officials in Afghanistan would help towards greater legitimacy for the interim government.

He made the remarks in an interview with TOLOnews.

“If the de facto authorities recognize women’s rights they would stand a better chance. It would be a step towards not recognition, I don’t really use that word very much, but it would be a step towards a greater legitimacy,” Bennett said.

He said that no country in the world is treating women the way the “de facto” officials in Afghanistan do.

The UN special rapporteur voiced concern over the deterioration of human rights within the past two-years.

One of the main reasons for the deterioration of human rights, he said, “is the treatment of women and girls.”

“In fact, today, there was an index that was produced by the Georgetown institute for women, peace and security which rates every country for their treatment of women and girls and Afghanistan came last in the whole world,” he said.

Bennett further said that the treatment of women is causing mass concerns among members of the international community. (27/10/2023)

But the Islamic Emirate has always said that women’s rights are protected within the framework of Islamic laws in the country.

The deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate, Bilal Karimi, denied the “concerns” regarding the human rights situation, saying that the rights of all Afghans are preserved within an Islamic structure.

“The Islamic Emirate as a responsible government ensures the rights of all citizens of the country and takes steps based on beliefs and Islamic values. No side should be concerned in this regard,” he said. – 07/03/2023.

As the final exams of the fall semester are held in government universities, some female students said that they are currently in despair.

“Social justice is the survival of a government. If governments do not respect social justice, a social crisis will arise, which will cause the downfall of the same system,” said Fazila Sarosh, a women’s rights activist. – 06/11/2023.

Following the prohibition of women working in governmental and non-governmental organizations this year, on July 3, 2023, a one-month deadline was issued by the leader of the Islamic Emirate for Women’s Beauty Salons.

This deadline ended on July 23. With this decree, more than 12,000 Women’s Beauty Salons were blocked in the country.

“What is spiritual destruction or the apparent destruction of the society should be prevented,” said Akif Mahajir, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Virtue and Vice. – 22/07/2023.

This issue also led to protests by females who have Women’s Beauty Salons.

“What is our crime that we are deprived of school, universities and everything? What is our guilt?” said Marwa, a makeup artist. – 20/07/2023.

“We either leave the country, or we will go on the street and commit suicide. Or they put us under an atom bomb or execute us because we are women,” said Lida, a female makeup artist. – 06/07/2023.

Meanwhile, as in other years, the gates of schools and universities were not opened for girls in 2023.

The academic year of 1402 (solar year) started with the ringing of the bell of Amani High School for boys but no order was issued to return girls to schools

“It has been two years since we were deprived of school. We hope that schools become open for us,” said Zainab, a student. – 22/Mar/2023.

“In the past one year, not only me, but all the girls and students who were denied the opportunity to go to university are suffering from depression and an unclear future,” Huzaifa, a student, told TOLOnews. – 20/12/2023.

Although some officials of the Islamic Emirate emphasized education for girls in Afghanistan, no new decree was issued in this regard.

The Deputy Foreign Minister, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai said: “This is everyone’s right. This is the natural right which God and the prophet has given to them, how can someone take this right from them? If anyone violates this right, this is an oppression against the Afghans and the people of this country. Try to reopen the doors of the educational institutions for everyone. Today our only problem with the neighbors and world is caused because of the issue of education. If the nation is getting distant from us and upset with us, that is due to the education issue.” – 07/12/2023.

The closure of schools, universities and women’s work are sensitive and controversial issues, which were the focus and sidelines of some regional and global meetings.

These meetings were include:

“Women, Peace and Security”

“Doha Forum”

“Government in Afghanistan and Women’s Government in Afghanistan”

“US Institute of Peace (USIP)”

“1st Meeting – 53rd Regular Session of the Human Rights Council,” in Geneva

“The 78th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations”

The US special envoy for Afghan human rights and women, Rina Amiri, called for investment in the female education sector in Afghanistan, in a bid to provide the way for a modern and “inclusive Afghanistan.”

Speaking at a session at the Doha Forum, Amiri said: “It is a moral imperative and it is a strategic imperative. If we want Afghanistan to continue on the road to a modern and inclusive Afghanistan that is not a threat to itself or to its neighbors, invest in Afghanistan, invest in its education and its population, that is what we are collectively seeking to do,” she said. – 10/12/2023.

The president of the 78th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, Dennis Francis, called on the “Taliban to reconsider” policies regarding the education and work of women and girls in Afghanistan.

Speaking at a press conference, he said that “keeping the girls” out of their schools is not going to strengthen the country.

“Women and girls have unalienable rights, human rights that must be upheld and honored. So I would urge the Afghan authorities to reconsider the policy and allow girls to go to school to get an education. So that they can play a role in the development of the community and the society,” Francis said. – 29/09/2023.

Based on the report of the US Institute of Peace (USIP), more than seventy decrees have been issued in the field of education, training and work for women since the Islamic Emirate came into power in the country.

But the Islamic Emirate has always said that women’s rights in Afghanistan are based on Islamic laws and has asked other countries not to interfere in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.

Review of Afghan Human Rights in 2023