ICC Probes Afghanistan's Human Rights, Focussing on Women's Plight, Reports UN Envoy

Thursday, 12/07/2023

Richard Bennett, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Afghanistan, has announced that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is investigating the human rights situation in Afghanistan, with a particular emphasis on the treatment of women.

Bennett highlighted that the ICC is paying close attention to violations of international treaties relating to Afghan women. In a discussion with Conservative Friends of Afghanistan, he referenced ongoing efforts to acknowledge gender apartheid in Afghanistan, noting that numerous Afghan citizens and human rights activists are collaborating with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to include this issue under the umbrella of crimes against humanity.

The UN Special Rapporteur mentioned that the UN is currently developing a new treaty on crimes against humanity. He underscored the significance of campaigns advocating for the recognition of gender apartheid as a crime against humanity, pointing out that many Afghans believe this term accurately encapsulates the current state of women's rights in the country.

Bennett clarified that the process of amending these treaties requires extensive negotiations. If gender apartheid is officially classified as a crime against humanity in international law, it would mean that individuals or entities associated with such regimes could also be deemed violators of these treaties.

Additionally, Bennett suggested that the Security Council could impose sanctions against the Taliban in Afghanistan as a form of pressure. He also referenced the role of the UN Human Rights Council in potentially advancing this initiative.

Bennett concluded by stating that he has been tasked by the UN Human Rights Council to compile a report, in collaboration with other UN entities, focusing specifically on discrimination, segregation, and the systematic violation of women's human rights in Afghanistan.

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