Statement: Executive Director a.i. of UN Women, Ms Pramila Patten, stands in solidarity with Afghan women who are fighting for the respect of their fundamental rights and freedoms

Date: Thursday, September 9, 2021

“Women have a right to peaceful protest and to a life free of violence. In taking control of Afghanistan the Taliban authorities assume a duty to respect and protect these rights,” Pramila Patten said.

“I am shocked and outraged by the images of women in Afghanistan being whipped, hit with shock batons and beaten simply for exercising their right to peaceful protest. I stand in solidarity with all Afghan women who are fighting for the respect of their fundamental rights and freedoms. This deliberate violence is being carried out openly and shamelessly. It marks a clear escalation in disregard for women’s human rights.

“The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women has made clear that freedom from violence is indivisible and interdependent with all other human rights, including, specifically, rights to freedom of expression, movement, participation, assembly and association. Violence against women is an assault on their rights as a whole.

“I call again upon the Taliban to adhere to their duty to ensure the full rights of all women and girls in Afghanistan, to ensure the immediate cessation of this wholly unacceptable normalisation of violence against them and to monitor and investigate these violations so that perpetrators are held accountable whenever and wherever such violence occurs. There can be little credibility for promises made by the Taliban authorities to respect the rights of women and girls while such flagrant violations take place with impunity. There must be urgent action to ensure that women can fully, equally and safely exercise their right to participation in the public and political life of Afghanistan”.