The Taliban’s treatment of Afghan women and girls, including their exclusion from parks and gyms as well as schools and universities, might amount to a crime against humanity, a group of UN experts said on Friday.
The assessment by UN Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan Richard Bennett and nine other UN experts says the treatment of women and girls might amount to “gender persecution” under the Rome Statute to which Afghanistan is a party.
Responding to the assessment, Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a spokesman for the Taliban’s ministry of foreign affairs, said: “The current collective punishment of innocent Afghans by the UN sanctions regime all in the name of women rights and equality amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
The experts said in a statement that women’s confinement to their homes was “tantamount to imprisonment,” adding that it was likely to lead to increased levels of domestic violence and mental health problems.
The experts cited the arrest this month of female activist Zarifa Yaqobi and four male colleagues.
They remain in detention, the experts said.
The Taliban took over from a Western-backed government in August last year.
Its leaders say that it respects women’s rights in accordance with Islamic law.
Western governments have said that the Taliban needs to reverse its course on women’s rights, including its U-turn on signals that it would open girls’ high schools, for any path toward formal recognition of the Taliban government.
Separately, Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the UN’s human rights office, called for the Taliban authorities to immediately halt the use of public floggings in Afghanistan.
Shamdasani said that the office had documented numerous such incidents this month, including a woman and a man lashed 39 times each for spending time alone together outside of marriage.
“Corporal punishment is a human rights violation under international law,” Shamdasani said. “We are also concerned that arrests, court hearings, sentencing and punishments are often all carried out on the same day.”
Balkhi said that the Taliban administration considered the statement by the UN and others by Western officials “an insult towards Islam and violation of international principals.”
Sitting in a lotus position, four men weave glittering beads through gold thread on an organza sheet, carefully constructing a wedding dress that would soon wow crowds at Paris Fashion Week. For once, the French couturier behind the design, Julien Fournie, is determined to put these craftsmen in the spotlight. His new collection, which showed in Paris on Tuesday, was entirely made with fabrics from Mumbai. He said that a sort of “design imperialism” means that French fashion houses often play down that their fabrics are made outside France. “The houses which don’t admit it are perhaps afraid of losing their clientele,” Fournie
A court in Thailand sentenced a 27-year-old political activist to 28 years in prison on Thursday for posting messages on Facebook that it said defamed the country’s monarchy, while two young women charged with the same offense continued a hunger strike after being hospitalized. The court in the northern province of Chiang Rai found that Mongkhon Thirakot contravened the lese majeste law in 14 of 27 posts for which he was arrested in August last year. The law covers the king, queen and heirs, and any regent. The lese majeste law carries a prison term of three to 15 years per incident for
A gunman killed 10 people and wounded 10 others at a Los Angeles-area ballroom dance club following a Lunar New Year celebration, setting off a manhunt for the suspect in the latest mass shooting tragedy in an American community. Captain Andrew Meyer of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said Sunday that the wounded were taken to hospitals and their conditions range from stable to critical. He said the 10 people died at the scene in the city of Monterey Park. Meyer said people were “pouring out of the location screaming” when officers arrived at around 10:30 pm Saturday. He said officers then
INSTABILITY: The country has seen a 33 percent increase in land that cultivates poppies since the military took over the government in 2021, a UN report said The production of opium in Myanmar has flourished since the military’s seizure of power, with the cultivation of poppies up by one-third in the past year, as eradication efforts have dropped and the faltering economy has led more people toward the drug trade, a UN report released yesterday showed. Last year, the first full growing season since the military wrested control of the country from the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in 2021, saw a 33 percent increase in Myanmar’s cultivation area to 40,100 hectares, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime report said. “Economic, security and governance disruptions