In a new appeal, Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has called for an International Criminal Court investigation into the Taliban’s severe restrictions and unlawful crackdown on women and girls’ rights.
Calling the regressive policies of the Taliban crimes against humanity, the statement said that the actions should be investigated as possible crimes under international law, including the crime against humanity of gender persecution.
Both the international rights watchdog also released a 62-page report, ‘The Taliban’s war on women: The crime against humanity of gender persecution in Afghanistan’, which presents a detailed legal analysis of how the Taliban’s draconian restrictions on the rights of Afghanistan’s women and girls.
The report also emphasises the use of imprisonment, enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment by the Taliban and added that these could amount to the crime against humanity of gender persecution under Article 7(1)(h) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“Let there be no doubt: this is a war against women – banned from public life; prevented from accessing education; prohibited from working; barred from moving freely; imprisoned, disappeared and tortured including for speaking against these policies and resisting the repression. These are international crimes. They are organized, widespread, systematic,” said Agnès Callamard, Secretary General at Amnesty International.
The statement also called on other states to exercise universal jurisdiction or other lawful means to bring to justice Taliban members suspected of responsibility for crimes under international law.
It added that the upcoming enhanced interactive dialogue on the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan at the 53rd session of the UN Human Rights Council could be used as an opportunity to discuss gender persecution and other possible crimes under international law by the Taliban.
“The gravity of the crime demands a far more robust international response than has been seen to date,” Callamard added.
The report released covers the period from August 2021 to January 2023 and bases its analysis on a growing body of evidence collected by credible sources, including Amnesty International’s 2022 report Death in Slow Motion, civil society organisations and UN authorities.
Cases such as imprisonment, torture, disappearance and misbehaviour of the Taliban members with women are mentioned in the report. Afghan women and girls have been arbitrarily arrested by the Taliban for so-called “moral crimes” as a result of infringing the discriminatory mahram restrictions by the de facto authorities, and for their participation in peaceful demonstrations, said the report.
Furthermore, the report highlights the repressive policies of the Taliban regime against protesting women who took to the streets and demanded their rights and the removal of gender-based discrimination.