Heather Barr, a women’s rights researcher for Human Rights Watch in neighboring Pakistan, doesn’t believe it. She hears completely different things, she says in an interview with RTL Nieuws.
“The women we come into contact with in Afghanistan usually describe a situation where they feel their life has come to a complete standstill. And some of them describe it by saying that they have no more dreams, no more future.
“Women fear for their lives”
Many women are hiding inside, afraid of walking down the street, afraid of going to work, Barr says. “They are waiting to know what the policy of this new government is towards women. But already they have the feeling that they are living by the rules of the Taliban in 2001.”
“Some women fear for their lives,” says Barr. “Especially women who have been activists and fought publicly for women’s rights. And women who have held prominent positions in government and other professions in which the Taliban believe women should not participate. “
But that’s not just the feeling that many Afghan women have. The Taliban have already done things to justify this feeling.
“We’ve heard of the Taliban walking into people’s homes, questioning them in a way that seems genuinely intended to intimidate them, to basically say, we know who you are, we are watching you. And some women have to say specifically. ‘they are no longer allowed to go to work, especially women journalists. “
The Taliban say they are more moderate and say people need not be afraid. But Barr is not confident.
“There is no Afghan who believes their message. And it’s not just because of their behavior in 2001, but it’s how they behave today, yesterday and the day before yesterday. see them painting women in the streets and shopkeepers doing that. They say women shouldn’t go to work now because it’s not safe for them, they tell women in the media that they can’t anymore do their job. “
“The Taliban say that women can only continue studying if they do so in classes that are completely separate from the men. In addition, women are only allowed to receive education from female teachers. This basically means that most women cannot study at all anymore, it is not possible for universities to set up women only courses with female professors only, so they try to appear legitimate to the global community and it Looks like they’ve changed, but they’re really implementing a lot of the same practices in a little more devious way. “
Barr believes that the world shouldn’t just watch and that something can really be done.
Significant UN presence
“It is important to continue and strengthen the UN presence in Afghanistan and ensure that the UN is responsible for nationally monitoring how women and girls are treated. Because if Taliban want to be seen as legitimate and more moderate, so hopefully there is an opportunity to try to keep them there, but that can only be done by looking at what’s really going on in the country. “
“There are things the Taliban want and the international community can decide whether to give them or not, like access to the global financial system and access to aid, etc. not only to push for counterterrorism measures, but also to push for respect for human rights and, in particular, the human rights of women and girls.
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