Crisis in Afghanistan
After Joe Biden announced withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in May 2021, Afghanistan descended into a crisis. In August 2021, in a swift takeover, the Taliban toppled the old regime and we are witnessing a tragic reversal of rights.
As many of you know from SAHR's history, SAHR was founded to promote gender-equitable interpretations and applications of the Islamic law in Afghanistan. We were working with lawyers and human rights defenders in Afghanistan since 2008 to proliferate gender equity in law reform and in courts - to inspire, inform and influence. Since May 2021, the crisis forced us to pause some of our programs and support people who were being persecuted by the Taliban and other criminal groups.
UN experts are now describing the situation of Afghanistan as a “gender apartheid” and accused the Taliban for its “collective punishment of women”. Women’s mobility has been restricted especially amongst those who leave the home without a male chaperone or a specific black loose hijab. Female students are being denied entry to universities if they are without the mandated hijab. All female civil servants have been told to leave their job and have their male family members replace them. Women NGOs operate under surveillance and interference. Women human rights defenders have been detained, tortured, disappeared and many have fled Afghanistan. Taliban-run courts are extremely hostile towards women and cases of women’s rights are processed in their absence, without counsel and in violation of their fair trial rights.
SAHR continues to support Afghan human rights defenders and survivors of gender based violence.