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Taliban jailing Afghan women abuse survivors ‘for their protection’?

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The Taliban is sending women who have survived abuse in Afghanistan to prison to protect them from gender-based violence, according to a new UN report. Afghanistan’s regime has mostly removed women from public spaces and closed 23 state-sponsored protection centres which offered refuge to victims of gender-based violence, the report said, but now there are no such facilities to help women.

Afghanistan: Taliban fighters stand guard as they block a road near Kabul.(AFP)
Afghanistan: Taliban fighters stand guard as they block a road near Kabul.(AFP)

Taliban officials told the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said that there was no need for such shelters.

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“A de facto police officer [from the Taliban] in the northeastern region [of Afghanistan] said that women’s shelters are a western concept, stressing that women should stay with their brothers, fathers, or husbands,” the report said.

Another official from the department of justice in southern Afghanistan said as per the report, “The Islamic Emirate does not have any shelter for women. They must be with their husbands or other male family members – their mehram.”

Taliban does not see any need for such shelters as “no one will harm women while the Islamic Emirate is in power”, it added.

Afghan women are sent to prison for their protection “akin to how prisons have been used to accommodate drug addicts and homeless people in Kabul”, the report said, continuing, “A de facto appellate court judge in the northeastern region stated that the de facto Cabinet was conducting research to assess if there is a need for women’s shelters.”

Taliban’s record on women rights

Taliban has banned girls and women from attending schools, colleges, universities and workplaces. Women are also prohibited from travelling without a male guardian. Women are also no longer working in the judiciary or law enforcement or allowed to deal with crimes of gender-based violence, according to the UN report.

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