South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of Human Rights Defenders, is extremely concerned about the devastating human rights crisis and the severe humanitarian situation in Afghanistan in its second year under the de facto Taliban authorities. The Taliban took over the country in August 2021, but is not recognized by the United Nations (UN) and most of its member states.

Since the Taliban took over the governing of the country, women and girls have been systematically deprived of their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. These restrictions based on religion have been strongly condemned by Middle Eastern powers and Muslim-majority countries. The Taliban’s ban on Afghan women working for the UN adds to the earlier restrictions on their rights and entitlements. This ban deliberately undermines the need for inclusivity in the development of the country in a basic practical manner.  SAHR welcomes the unanimous Security Council resolution 2681 of 27 April 2023 calling for full, equal, meaningful and safe participation of women and girls in Afghanistan, while condemning the ban.

The extant blatant repression of religious and ethnic minorities – Hazara, Shia and Sufi, Uzbek and Turkish communities — in Afghanistan is alarming. At the same time the LGBTIQ+ community is also subjected to severe violent attacks. The violence against these minorities bears the hallmark of serious international crimes. The rampant cases of extra-judicial killings and disappearances, suppression of freedom of expression, forced displacement, violation of privacy, and the media have been reported.

SAHR is greatly concerned about the aberrations of the judicial system under the de facto Taliban authorities which have paved the way to judicial corporal punishment and death penalty implemented based on a court order.  Moreover, the activities of the Ministry of the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice brazenly contradict fundamental rights and freedoms of the people of Afghanistan.

According to the UN Secretary General, in Afghanistan, 97% of the population live in poverty. Two thirds of the population – 28 million- will need humanitarian assistance this year (2023) to survive. Six million Afghan children, women and men are one step away from famine-like conditions.

The UN Humanitarian Response Plan which entails USD 4.6 billion, has only received USD 294 million (by April 2023) flagging the evaporation of funding and funding fatigue. The ban against working women has adversely affected humanitarian work as most of the humanitarian aid work force are women.

Considering all of the above, SAHR strongly calls upon the de facto Taliban authorities to withdraw the bans that overwhelmingly prevent the people, especially women and girls of Afghanistan from enjoying their rights and entitlements. Inclusivity, transparency and accountability of governance is crucial for the stability and development of a country. Therefore, it is necessary for the Taliban to work out a strategy that best benefits the people who have been suffering continuously. Further, SAHR would appeal to the international actors who have pledged to assist the people of Afghanistan to continue supporting the country that requires aid decisively.

On behalf of the members of South Asians for Human Rights.

Dr. Roshmi Goswami
Dr. P.Saravanamuttu
Bureau Member

To view the press release on our website, Please click here.