The UN experts on Friday voiced concern about the systematic crackdown on the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan, which they observed during their visit to the region.
The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, and the Chair of the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls, Dorothy Estrada-Tanck, shared their preliminary observations following their eight-day joint visit to Afghanistan.
“We are deeply concerned about the apparent perpetration in Afghanistan of gender persecution – a systematic and grave human rights violation and a crime against humanity,” experts said in the statement.
“While we cannot make determinations of individual criminal responsibility, we consider on the basis of information received, including first-hand accounts, that women and girls are being targeted because of their sex and due to the social constructs used to define gender roles, behavior, activities, and attributes,” they added.
Nothing that these human rights violations mask other underlying manifestations of gender-based discrimination, they said: “This extreme situation of institutionalized gender-based discrimination in Afghanistan is unparalleled anywhere in the world.”
They urged the international community to adopt further normative criteria and measures to combat the broader phenomena of gender apartheid, which they define as an institutionalized system of discrimination, segregation, humiliation, and exclusion of women and girls.
“Since the collapse of the Republic, the de facto authorities have dismantled the legal and institutional framework and have been ruling through the most extreme forms of misogyny, destroying the relative progress towards gender equality achieved in the past two decades,” they said.
The visit took place between April 27 and May 4.