With the recent order by the Taliban that women must cover their faces in public areas, we are once again asking ourselves what is the panorama that women in Afghanistan must face
LatinAmerican Post | July Vanesa López Romero
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Leer en español: Mujeres en Afganistán: Olvidadas por el resto del mundo
On May 9, the Taliban in Afghanistan ordered a new code of dress and conduct for women that must be compulsorily followed. The edict, proclaimed by Hibitulá Ajunzadá, a Taliban leader and spokesman, prohibits women from leaving their homes unless it is strictly necessary; Likewise, it dictates that if they leave their house, they must cover their faces at all times. Although the edict did not specify a type of garment, the use of the burqa, a recognized symbol of the Taliban regime and repression that existed between 1996 and 2001, was openly recommended. If the obligations are not fulfilled, both the women and the man in charge of them they will be punished.
This greatly limits the possibility that women can access basic rights such as education or work and represents a very large setback in terms of gender equality.
Last year, 20 years later, the regime returned to settle in the South Asian country and since then women have been one of the main targets for repression, if not the main one.
The same day that the edict was proclaimed, the well-known women's rights activist Malala Yousafzai published a tweet on Twitter in which she expressed her opinion regarding the Taliban's decision, assuring that the regime seeks " erase girls and women from public life in Afghanistan.” Yousafzai also made a call not to "lose the sense of alarm for Afghan women" and assured that they are taking to the streets to fight for their dignity and human rights, for which the international community and "especially Muslim countries" must show their support.
Bleak outlook for women
In September 2021, when the Taliban retook Afghanistan, they promised that they would act under international standards in order to maintain positive relations with the global community. Of course, with this decision, the promises remain just that, promises and not actions.
This is a decision that puts women far below and also reflects the precarious situation in which the country finds itself. According to the registered data and after the taking of the country, the political and social crisis in which it is plunged became evident. There are more than 23 million people in a situation of hunger, and with these figures the country is about to enter a humanitarian crisis.
Afghan women are the bravest. As they continue their fight to protect their hard-earned human rights gains, we must not forget them. They need our solidarity and our support. #SpeakUpForAfghanWomen #Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/eilnwTjF6O— Amnesty International South Asia (@amnestysasia) May 10, 2022
Of course, under this situation that affects the entire country, women are the most affected social group. The codes of conduct and dress not only prevent them from accessing basic rights, but also set an ideal that will be replicated during the time of the rebuke. When the Taliban regime ended in 2001 it took years to advance rights for girls and women, because customs and their heritage carry enormous weight. However, with the return of the regime in 2021, it only took 9 months for a right like education to cease to be a reality and become a dream.
As long as the Taliban regime remains in power, the human rights expectations for girls and women in Afghanistan are practically nil.
Conflict in #Afghanistan is entering a new and worrying phase. In a joint report w @APWORG and @ACLEDINFO we’ve managed to gather and analyze data from 238 sources in all 34 provinces since #Taliban takeover. Latest w @HabibKhanT for @Diplomat_APAC: https://t.co/cZbqTMEqBc— Justine Fleischner (@fleischnerj) May 12, 2022
The international community must ensure that the guarantees that were lost are restored and generate new opportunities at the social and political level so that these types of regimes that threaten the lives of women rise to power.