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Release jailed women in Afghanistan: Rights group

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Kabul, Afghanistan:

On November 4, the Taliban detained women human rights defenders Zarifa Yaqoobi and her colleagues during a press conference announcing the formation of the “Afghan Women Movement for Equality” in the capital city of Kabul.

Reportedly, dozens of Taliban members stormed the venue to disrupt the event and deleted photos and videos from cellphones of all event participants.

“The recent wave of arrests of women human rights defenders in Afghanistan is yet another attempt to quell all forms of peaceful protests and any dissent against the Taliban’s oppressive policies that violate human rights, particularly of women and girls,” said Samira Hamidi, Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner, in a statement.

Such arrests will no doubt increase the environment of fear and reprisal in a continuing system of repression that goes unchecked, she said.

“As the de-facto authorities, the Taliban must comply with international human rights law and standards, and immediately and unconditionally release these women human rights defenders and their colleagues who have been arrested solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly,” Hamidi added.

Furthermore, she said the Taliban must be held accountable for their human rights abuses and violations as they continue to act with impunity. “The international community must condemn these acts, both publicly and in their private interactions with the Taliban and send a clear message that their current policies towards women and girls are not acceptable.”

Even the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement on the arrests urging the de facto authorities to respect the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly without fear of arrest or intimidation.

This condemnation arrest of rights defenders comes as a number of rights groups have called the Taliban to reverse its recent decision to stop women from visiting public parks in Kabul.

“Afghanistan: The Taliban banning women from public parks in Kabul according to media reports is yet another blow to women’s rights in the country. Any such decision by the Taliban must be reversed immediately as women’s rights under the Taliban have been systematically under attack,” Amnesty said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Since the return of the Taliban to Kabul in August 2021, the Taliban’s systematic attacks on the rights of women and girls and the use of violence, including torture and enforced disappearances, have created a culture of fear in Afghan society.

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