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Human Rights Watch urges ICC to investigate sexual abuse in Afghanistan

Human Rights Watch has urged the International Criminal Court to investigate the sexual abuse and harassment of women and girls in Afghanistan as a “crime against humanity.”

The organization alleges that the current regime authorities are “committing sexual harassment and persecution against women and girls,” constituting “crimes against humanity.”

Human Rights Watch released a report on Friday highlighting this issue.

The organization said that the Taliban authorities have implemented “laws and policies since regaining control of Afghanistan that intend to deprive women and girls of their fundamental rights.” 

Human Rights Watch claims that, based on research, such abuses against women and girls in Afghanistan have been carried out through various written orders or declarations since 2021.

According to the organization, these measures severely restrict freedom of movement, expression, and assembly.

Human Rights Watch further notes that decrees issued in Afghanistan have essentially prohibited most professions, including higher education, and have allowed arbitrary arrests and violations of freedom.

In continuation of the report, Human Rights Watch urges the Taliban authorities to remove all forms of suppression and discrimination that deprive women and girls of their fundamental rights.

The head of the Global Justice section of the organization Human Rights Watch, Liz Evenson, said that the “systematic and brutal denial of women’s and girls’ rights” by the Taliban regime has garnered global attention for their efforts to exclude them from public life.

Evenson added: “Coordinated support from relevant governments is necessary to hold Taliban leaders accountable under the law.”

In continuation of the report, Human Rights Watch, referring to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, defines crimes against humanity as “a series of prohibited acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population with knowledge of the attack.”

The organization further emphasizes that “abuse and persecution based on sexual characteristics or social structures and norms used to define gender constitute a form of gender-based persecution.”

In this regard, the head of the Global Justice section of Human Rights Watch says that the International Criminal Court investigations in Afghanistan can address gender-based abuse and persecution.

Evenson added that governments should ensure that the International Criminal Court has the resources and cooperation to investigate “crimes and other severe human rights violations” in Afghanistan.