Original post: “A society without women is a dead society” from: Diario de España (17/08/2022).
Afghan women’s rights are non-negotiable
In August 2021, Taliban leaders appeared on international television assuring that they would respect women’s rights. It was a lie, of course. While they were making these statements, they began to erase the women’s faces from billboards and shop windows. A year later, it has been confirmed that there was not a single reason to believe them. Today’s Taliban are the same as 20 years ago. The same cruelty, the same radical fundamentalism, the same fanaticism and again the total repression against women.
Just as 20 years ago they have closed the doors of workplaces to women and closed secondary schools and universities to girls and women. They have been expelled from all political, judicial and administrative institutions.
They want to erase them from the economic, social and institutional reality of the country. They have closed the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and have reopened the Ministry of Virtue, the same one that 20 years ago was in charge of imprisoning, torturing and beating in public with intention to exemplify women who failed to comply with moral restrictions, such as carrying out activities outside the home unless accompanied by a mahram (close male relative such as father, husband, or brother) or appear in public without being covered from head to toe by the burqa.
Afghanistan is the largest regime of sex segregation that history has ever known. A real hell for women and girls. This is the true face of the criminal Taliban regime that took power a year ago.
And yet, the more they insist on erasing Afghan women, the more clearly they are shown as the true face of society’s resistance to terror. With unimaginable courage, they are the ones who take to the streets to confront the regime, which responds with bullets as in last week’s demonstration. It is they, journalists, judges, deputies, doctors, who demand their positions. It is the teachers who organize to maintain, in extremely precarious conditions, online classes for girls excluded from schools: those faces of 12-year-old girls, prepared with their backpacks, who entered our homes and questioned us when we saw them cry for the unfulfilled promise of the authorities to open secondary education centers on March 23.
It is the Afghan women in exile who have organized themselves into an international network to support the women and girls who resist within the country and ask the international community to be firm in not recognizing the regime until a radical change occurs in the country. respect for the human rights of women. Until there is that respect.
Afghan women are not the same as they were twenty years ago: they are willing to resist the barbarism that they want to impose on them and their daughters. Because, despite the enormous existing inequalities, in recent years the situation had changed for them. Before the arrival of the Taliban, 40% of school enrollment in the country was for girls, a figure of enormous importance considering that 50% of the Afghan population is under 15 years of age. And the presence of women in all areas, even with fragile and partial progress, was a reality.
Therefore, on this sad anniversary I think we have the obligation to put our focus on them. The political crisis, the humanitarian tragedy that the country is experiencing undoubtedly has a profound gender dimension. That is the reason why, from the beginning, the Cs delegation in the European Parliament asked the equality commissioner. Helena Dalli, to be directly involved in the repatriation of women who were targets of this regime and who had been key in the democratization of the country.
For this reason, the passivity of the Ministry of Equality is surprising, so active in battles that were already won years ago by other generations of women, in supporting the thousands of Afghan refugees in our country who urgently need to regularize their situation to integrate and work. , and in denouncing and being a speaker for the women who remain inside Afghanistan.
This sad anniversary should serve to reorient our international action. The humanitarian situation is a tragedy: of the 50% of the population that lives below the poverty line, 72% are women. Child malnutrition increases every day. And the data we receive of a 500% increase in child marriages, caused by the misery in which many families live, are devastating.
We have to get the necessary help without a single euro passing through the groaning hands. Without any conversation that may be necessary to allow international agencies and organizations to operate in the country means or appears to have any recognition. The slightest tolerance for the Taliban regime is impossible: the rights of Afghan women are non-negotiable. They should know that the unlocking of millions of dollars to the Afghan Central Bank will depend on the radical change in respect for human rights.
We need facts. No one can believe the words of a government whose members include terrorists with international search warrants and members of the powerful Hagqani network. A government that hosts terrorists like the leader of Al Queda Ayman al Zawahiri, recently located and killed in Kabul.
This sad anniversary should prevent the international community from renewing the travel ban exemption for Taliban leaders, which was justified to allow them to participate in the Doha peace talks.
Above all, this sad anniversary must remind us that the war on terror is not over in Afghanistan. Simply now the terrorists control power and are at war against the population; and in war, ruthless and brutal, against women.