Rights groups have slammed unprecedented restrictions imposed by the Taliban on Afghan women, dubbing them a “crime against humanity”. The restrictions, which include banning women from leaving the house unaccompanied except in emergencies, have been imposed in an effort to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Taliban has also suspended women’s activities outside the home, banned their attendance at educational centers, and prohibited women from participating in trade activities, except in cases of emergency. They have also forbidden women from meeting any men outside their family.
These policies, along with the lack of access to healthcare and the food insecurity caused by the pandemic, have increased the vulnerability of Afghan women, according to rights groups. Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned the Taliban’s actions as a “grave violation of human rights and a crime against humanity”.
Rights activists have argued that the restrictions imposed by the Taliban disproportionately affect women, as many are already deprived of basic human rights in the conservative patriarchal region. They have urged the international community to step in and pressure the Taliban to remove the restrictions on Afghan women.
The restrictions have been described as an attempt to control public life in Afghanistan and deny women their rights. It is feared that the restrictions will lead to the further oppression of Afghan women, worsen the existing gender inequality, and create lasting social and economic consequences.