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Erosion Of Women's Rights, Extrajudicial Killings Plague Taliban Rule, UN Says


Afghan children attend a mobile school in Kandahar on June 5 in an initiative by volunteers wherein a vehicle travels from village to village conducting classes.

The United Nations says that almost one year since the Taliban takeover, the situation of human rights in Afghanistan has worsened considerably despite an overall significant reduction in armed violence.

The Human Rights In Afghanistan report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), published on July 20, highlighted the plight of Afghan women, whose rights have been drastically curtailed since Taliban militants returned to power in August following a blitz offensive across the country amid the withdrawal of the U.S.-led international forces.

Girls have been banned from school beyond the sixth grade in most of Afghanistan. In March, the Taliban ordered girls' high schools closed on the morning they were scheduled to open.

"Since 15 August [2021], women and girls have progressively had their rights to fully participate in education, the workplace, and other aspects of public and daily life restricted and in many cases completely taken away," the report said.

"The decision not to allow girls to return to secondary school means that a generation of girls will not complete their full 12 years of basic education. At the same time, access to justice for victims of gender-based violence has been limited by the dissolution of dedicated reporting pathways, justice mechanisms and shelters," it said.

“The education and participation of women and girls in public life is fundamental to any modern society. The relegation of women and girls to the home denies Afghanistan the benefit of the significant contributions they have to offer. Education for all is not only a basic human right, it is the key to progress and development of a nation,” said Markus Potzel, the acting secretary-general’s special representative for Afghanistan.

The report also voiced concern over the Taliban authorities' carrying out human rights violations with impunity, especially extrajudicial killings of individuals accused of affiliation with armed groups, but also cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishments, and excessive use of force by Taliban officials.

The report documented a total of 237 extrajudicial killings -- most of them, 160, targeting former members of the Afghan military and government. Suspected Islamic State militants and members of the armed opposition group identified as the National Resistance Front have also fallen victim to extrajudicial killings, the report said.

UNAMA said the human rights violations have also been amplified by a nationwide economic, financial, and humanitarian crisis of unprecedented scale, with almost 60 percent of the population in need of humanitarian assistance.

The report urged the Taliban authorities to do more identify, probe, and lawfully punish human rights abuses.

"Human rights violations must be investigated by the de facto authorities, perpetrators held accountable, and ultimately, incidents should be prevented from reoccurring in the future," the report said.

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