Taliban decree on women’s rights makes no mention of schools or workplaces

The decree sets out rules governing marriage and property for women, stating that women should not be forced into marriage and that widows have a share of their husband’s property. Spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said: “Women are not property, but a noble and free human being; no one can give her to anyone in exchange for peace … or for judgment. end hatred”.

The Taliban have come under tremendous pressure to support women’s rights by the international community, which has mostly frozen funds for Afghanistan since the group took control of the country. Instead, during their four months in power, Taliban leaders imposed limits on girls’ education and banned women from some workplaces, stripping them of the rights they had tirelessly fought for. over two decades.

The Afghan women interviewed by CNN on Friday said the decree would not change their lives, adding that the rights detailed by the Taliban were already subject to Islamic law. Taliban leaders promise that women will have rights “within the limits of Islamic law” when they came to power, but it is unclear what that means or how it will differ from the strict interpretation of the law imposed by the group between 1996 and 2001, when women were barred from leaving the house without Men with male guardians and girls are blocked from school.

“[The decree] has nothing to do with our right to go to school, college, or participate in government. Muzhda, a 20-year-old university student in the capital, Kabul, said we see no hope for our future if it continues. The Taliban have taken control and we won’t feel comfortable after this decree… if they don’t introduce changes to their rules on women’s rights, we’d rather stay in our lap. . “

“They just want women to stay at home and not let them go to school, university or work, but they want to appeal to the international community,” she added.

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The timing of the decree comes as Afghanistan sinks deeper into an economic crisis and amid warnings of a looming famine. But it’s unlikely that the declaration will go far enough to assuage international concerns that Afghan women are currently unable to work and go to school, or even access public spaces outside of the home.

“Over the past three and a half months, it has become increasingly clear to the Taliban that women’s rights, especially girls’ education, are a really serious barrier to getting some of the things they want from the international community – recognition, legitimacy, funding Heather Barr, deputy director of women at Human Rights Watch, told CNN.

Taliban leaders have shown a more moderate side of the group to the world in recent months, pledging to allow primary and some secondary education for girls, but those rights advocates are not convinced that their views have changed. According to Barr, “their views are still pretty much intact compared to 1996-2001, about the roles of women and girls.

“It gives you a sense of how the Taliban view the role of women in society,” Barr added. “Honestly, it feels a bit insulting, at a time when millions of girls are being denied access to education.”

A worse crisis

Barr noted that, in practical terms, the Taliban had no way of upholding women’s rights after having abolished all mechanisms to do so. Since coming to power, the Taliban have abolished the Ministry of Women, the key body in promoting women’s rights through Afghan legislation. They also withdrew the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women, signed in 2009 to protect women from abuse – including forced marriage, which renders them without justice, according to the UN.

“Enforcement of this edict in most parts of the country is not possible, only the Taliban can enforce it in the capital and some parts of the country, but most regions have their own customs so they will not accept this decree,” Fariha Sediqi, 62, a former school teacher in Kabul, told CNN.

In spite of married under 15 years old is illegal nationwide, it has been common practice for many years, especially in rural areas of Afghanistan. And the situation has worsened since the takeover in August, as families become more desperate in the face of a deepening economic crisis.
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Zahra Joya, an Afghan journalist who has fled the Taliban but continues to run her own women’s news agency, Rukhshana Media, from London, England, where she is applying for asylum, says the decree is pointless. means.

“The Taliban say women are human. Everyone knows women are human. They say women are free. But how? It’s the 21st century and all Afghan women need their freedom. – the right to education, the right to work. And unfortunately, the Taliban surname Joya says: ‘Women’s lives are limited to the 100 days they are in power.

Joya, who grew up under the Taliban in the 90s and lived as a boy to obey the group’s ban on education and schooling, left Afghanistan to continue her work. She has a network of female journalists around the country who are covering women’s issues, such as the rise in forced marriage amid the secret economy.

“Currently, the majority of Afghans don’t have enough food to eat. The Taliban don’t have any solution to the economic situation in Afghanistan and they are still trying to restrict women,” she added.


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