Tag: Afghanistan

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Articles & StatementsCommitteeWomen’s Rights

Statement on International Women’s Day

We demand an end to the killing of women, especially in Gaza, and to violence against women around the world. The main theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘Inspire Inclusion’, which emphasises the importance of diversity and empowerment in all areas of society. This also emphasises the vital role of inclusion in achieving gender equality. A key pillar of the theme is the promotion of diversity in leadership and decision-making positions. Women, especially those belonging to underrepresented groups, continue to face barriers when seeking leadership or representation roles. As we mark International Women’s Day 2024, we reaffirm our commitment to building a world where all women are empowered, valued and included in decision-making. By working together to break down barriers and promote diversity, we can build a more equitable and inclusive society for future generations.

However, we regret to remind you that today there is another problem that is much more important than women’s participation in social life: Not being able to keep them alive. Sadly, on 7 October last year, many innocent women were killed in a terrorist attack on Israel by a group affiliated with HAMAS, which rules Gaza. In addition, HAMAS is still holding many hostages, including women. Israel responded to this attack with a very violent war. The Israeli army bombed many civilian centres, including hospitals, and unfortunately more than 9,000 innocent Palestinian women were killed in 5 months. What is more tragic is that the world, states and international organisations have failed to stop this ‘genocide’. ‘Humanity’ should not remain so helpless while women and children are being brutally killed! On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we once again make an urgent appeal to all responsible persons and authorities: Stop this massacre, this ‘genocide’ as soon as possible!

Afghanistan is in the third year of Taliban rule and women’s basic rights are being restricted day by day. Women summarise their situation as “We are alive but not living.” In 2023, the Taliban introduced new restrictions on women and girls. Some of these are as follows: Women and girls are banned from receiving education from the 6th grade onwards, and in some areas they are not allowed to attend any school after the age of 10. Women’s work in national and international NGOs was suspended. Beauty centres were closed and women were banned from using gyms. In addition, women who do not wear the headscarf, as demanded by the Taliban, are arrested. It is our responsibility to stand in solidarity with Afghan women and ensure that they regain their basic rights.

In Iran, a new veiling law came into force in 2023, imposing up to 10 years in prison for women who dress ‘indecently’. Tens of thousands of women have had their cars confiscated as punishment for defying this ban. Others have been prosecuted, sentenced to flogging or imprisonment, or faced other penalties such as fines or ‘attending moral classes’. Some have been threatened with death or sexual violence. We demand that the Iranian government respect the rights of women and girls and take immediate action to stop this persecution.

Turkey has not performed well on women’s rights in recent years and the situation has worsened since 2021. Turkey withdrew from the Istanbul Convention, which it signed in 2011, by presidential decree in March 2021. This encourages impunity for crimes against women. For example, 334 women were killed by men in 2022, rising to 438 last year. In addition, for the last 10 years the Turkish government has been using ‘anti-terrorism laws’, which are not compatible with the ECHR, to silence dissent in the country. According to official statistics, nearly 100,000 women have been prosecuted under these laws since 2015 and more than 50,000 of them have been arrested. Some of those still in detention have not been released, despite the ECtHR’s ‘violation of rights’ judgement in 2023. Prisons in Turkey are overcrowded and women prisoners are subjected to inhuman treatment, including sexual harassment, strip searches and psychological torture. Sick, pregnant, infant and elderly women continue to be held in prisons in violation of the law. The international community should press the Turkish government to ensure that women and girls from vulnerable populations are provided with the support and resources they need to rebuild their lives.

The ongoing Russian occupation and war in Ukraine continues to have a devastating impact on women. According to UN figures, 80 per cent of the approximately 8.5 million displaced Ukrainians are women and girls. These women are often the targets of violence and sexual abuse. Tens of thousands of Ukrainian women serve alongside men in the army. Women who are not on the front line are under mental and physical pressure to care for their families and rebuild their lives. We must do everything we can to support women in Ukraine and ensure that their voices are heard.

We should not forget the impact on women of the restrictions on immigration imposed by Western countries. Many women are forced to leave home and family behind in search of a better life, only to face discrimination and hardship in their new countries. We must call on governments to do more to support these women and provide the resources they need to thrive.

On the other hand, the digital divide is greater for women and they are victimised by new forms of online violence and harassment. It is crucial to ensure that these technologies incorporate a human rights-first approach and prioritise the protection of women and girls on their platforms.

In conclusion, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, we have to remember that gender equality and women’s participation in decision-making and representation mechanisms is not a privilege but a fundamental human right. We must realise that we cannot achieve equality without eliminating gender-based violence. We must also recognise that no society can reach its full potential if half of its population is left behind.

On this day, we call on governments and other national and international organisations to take immediate action to address the many challenges and injustices faced by women around the world. Only then can we build a more just and equitable world for all.

 

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Council to EuropeExecutive CommitteeReportsUnited Nations

Our report on human rights violations in Afghanistan

We present our report on ‘The Humanitarian Crisis Emerging for Afghanistan and Afghan Refugees’ to UN and Council of Europe. “The Humanitarian Crisis Emerging for Afghanistan and Afghan Refugees” is a comprehensive and deeply impactful report that examines the intricate layers of the humanitarian crisis stemming from the prolonged conflict in Afghanistan and the subsequent displacement of Afghan refugees.

This meticulously crafted report not only presents a comprehensive analysis of the evolving situation but also adds a compelling human element through an insightful interview with a former female prosecutor who fled Afghanistan. By shedding light on the multifaceted issues at hand, this report aims to contribute to a better understanding of the situation and facilitate informed decision-making by governments, international organizations, and civil society.

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Articles & StatementsEventsHuman Rights Defenders

Letter to Afghan Ambassador for endangered lawyers

Human Rights Solidarity members protested the deteriorating situation of lawyers in Afghanistan on January 24, the Day of Endangered Lawyers. On 24th of January 2023, on the occasion of the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, Human Rights Solidarity protested the deteriorating situation of the rule of law and independence of the judicial profession in front of the Afghanistan Embassy in London and delivered a letter to Ambassador Dr Zalmai Rassoul, the ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Kingdom. The letter underlined the unacceptability of the deterioration of the rule of law and independence of the judiciary after the Taliban takeover in general, and of the constraints on the ability of Afghan women to access the justice system in particular.

Undersigned by Merve Aslangoren, the serving chairperson of the Human Rights Solidarity, the letter called for immediate halt to restrictions imposed on women lawyers’ work. Before the Taliban takeover, the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (AIBA) had over 5,500 members, one third of which were women. After the takeover, together with the universities and all other public offices, women are barred from the legal profession. But the real danger to women lawyers comes from the criminals who have been released from jails by the Taliban, as a significant part of these criminals were put behind bars by women judges and prosecutors and are now in a hunt for revenge.

Referring to the joint statement of the Special Rapporteurs Margaret Satterthwaite, on the independence of judges and lawyers, and Richard Bennett, on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, the letter underlined the challenges the Afghan lawyers are facing and called both the Afghan government and the international community to action. ” By suspending the 2004 Constitution, ousting all judges from the bench, and stripping the Attorney General’s office of its key role, the Taliban has precipitated the collapse of the rule of law and judicial independence in Afghanistan”, according to the statement and since the Taliban takeover a minimum of 16 lawyers were killed by unknown individuals in Kabul and other provinces.

 

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EventsJustice Corner

Solidarity with Afghanistan protest

DATE: 28 August 2021

PLACE: In front of the Parliament House

COMMITTEE: Justice Corner

For 20 years, Afghanistan was bombarded continuously to get rid of Taliban, and yet in the end the country was abandoned to their rule. Afghans who cooperated with the NATO forces were largely left to the mercy of the Taliban Regime.

The UK Government has to take action for the current conflict in Afghanistan. The Taliban are taking over provinces in the area and attacking and slaughtering Afghan people who previously gave aid and support (militarily and otherwise) to NATO forces. This travesty against humanity cannot be tolerated.

The volunteers of The Justice Corner gathered on 28 August 2021, in front of the Parliament House, to call our government to evacuate Afghans to third countries and ensure their safety there, or to provide them with asylum and permanent citizenship in the UK.