Aug 24, 2021 - World

UN rights chief: Taliban's treatment of women, girls will be "red line"

Burqa clad Afghan women shop at a market area in Kabul
Afghan women shop at a market area in Kabul on Aug. 23 following the Taliban's military takeover of the country. Photo: Hoshang Hashimi/AFP via Getty Images

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday said the Taliban's treatment of women and girls will be a "fundamental red line."

Driving the news: The resurgence of the Taliban has left many young Afghan women and girls fearing for their futures and the progress gained over the last two decades.

The big picture: Many fear the group will return to the brutal grip it ruled with in the 1990s, when women's freedoms were severely restricted and executions were carried out in public.

  • The Taliban in recent days have tried to project a more moderate image, promising "amnesty" to their opponents and claiming they will honor women's rights within their cultural "frameworks."
  • But reports of women being forced out of their jobs, violent crackdowns on protesters, and hunt-downs of Afghan government allies, have already surfaced.

What they're saying: "A fundamental red line will be the Taliban's treatment of women and girls, and respect for their rights to liberty, freedom of movement, education, self expression and employment, guided by international human rights norms," Bachelet said.

  • "In particular, ensuring access to quality secondary education for girls will be an essential indicator of commitment to human rights," she added.
  • The government must also allow for the meaningful participation of women, she said.

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