UN Special Rapporteur Urges Governments to File ICC Case Against Taliban

Wednesday, 06/12/2024

Heather Barr, a Human Rights Watch official, stated that the UN Human Rights Rapporteur in his new report on Afghanistan has called for countries to criminalise gender apartheid.

Barr wrote that Richard Bennett, UN Human Rights Rapporteur for Afghanistan, has asked governments to file a complaint against the Taliban at the International Court of Justice (ICC) for violating women's rights.

Bennett will present his new report on the human rights situation to the UN Human Rights Council on June 21.

However, he has not yet released the report. On Tuesday, Barr published an article regarding the contents of this report.

She wrote that Bennett has strongly urged countries to hold the Taliban accountable for their crimes against women and girls in Afghanistan.

According to her, "Bennett calls the Taliban’s system of discrimination a crime against humanity, saying it constituted in and of itself a widespread and systematic attack on the entire civilian population of Afghanistan."

In his report, the UN Special Rapporteur has supported the call by women's rights activists for gender apartheid to be recognised as a crime under international law by UN member states.

Currently, organisations and human rights defenders are striving for gender apartheid to be recognised as a crime in international law, similar to racial apartheid in South Africa. However, major world governments have not yet supported this demand.

According to Heather Barr, Bennett has also urged governments in his report to "support the International Criminal Court's investigations into Taliban crimes, including those related to the gender-based persecution of women”.

Additionally, countries should refrain from normalising or legitimising the Taliban until concrete and verified actions in the field of human rights, especially for women and girls, are taken.

The third Doha meeting, hosted by the United Nations and special representatives of countries for Afghanistan, is scheduled for June 30 – July 1.

Earlier, a group of international human rights organisations, in a letter to the participating countries of the Doha meeting, stated that "the world is dangerously close to accepting the legitimacy of the Taliban's rule”.

They urged countries not to grant concessions to the Taliban regarding women's rights.

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