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Unacknowledged Detentions Increase Risks of Harm

The Taliban’s response to the apparent enforced disappearance of Tamana Paryani, Parwana Ibrahimkhel, and other women activists in Afghanistan has laid bare their intent to eradicate critical women’s voices through unlawful use of force. Taliban…
Two women hold protest signs
News

Enforcement Crucial, Broader Reforms Needed

Pakistan’s parliament has passed a bill that significantly strengthens protections for women in the workplace against violence and harassment. The new law, drafted by the Ministry of Human Rights with extensive input from women rights groups and…
Women's rights activists demonstrate to condemn violence against women in Lahore, Pakistan
News

Threats, Assaults, and ‘Less-Lethal Weapons’ Against Peaceful Protesters

The Taliban’s violent crackdown on a women’s rights demonstration in Kabul last weekend marks an alarming and unlawful escalation of efforts to suppress peaceful protest and free speech in Afghanistan. Human Rights Watch spoke with two protesters…
Women protesters demand justice and call for the Taliban to respect women’s rights in Kabul, Afghanistan
News

Military Trial Followed Enforced Disappearance

A military court in Pakistan has reportedly sentenced human rights defender and political activist Idris Khattak to 14 years’ “rigorous imprisonment” on charges of espionage after anonymous sources claimed he had provided sensitive information to a “…
Idris Khattak. 
News

Closing Secondary Schools to Girls Causing Lasting Harm

“I want to go to school and become an independent woman who chooses and decides for her life,” 16-year-old Nasiba told me. “If I am educated, men wouldn’t dare to interfere but if I am not, they will decide my whole life for me.” She lives in Kabul…
Women demonstrate for their rights during a gathering for National Teachers Day in Kabul, Afghanistan, October 5, 2021.
News

When Flights Resume, Step Up Evacuation Efforts for Citizens, Afghans at Risk

As governments scrambled to evacuate their nationals and Afghans at risk from Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover in August, Ukraine made headlines last month with its rescue in Kabul of nearly 100 Ukrainians and Afghans at risk. The…
Ukrainian citizens gathered outside Hamid Karzai International airport in early September 2021 asking Ukraine to evacuate them, Kabul Afghanistan.
News

For Survivors of Abuse, Shelters Offered Lifeline

“My parents warned me they will kill me if I ever leave this shelter,” Najla, a woman of about 30, told me. “The worst thing is that I don’t have anyone to support me.” She has been in a shelter in Afghanistan’s western city of Herat for several years…
Afghan women sew in their bedroom at a women's shelter in Kabul, March 20, 2017. A non-descript building tucked away in a residential neighborhood is one of the few hidden sanctuaries where battered women can seek support. 
News

Recognize Status for Afghans Waiting on US Bases

United States President Joe Biden inherited a refugee resettlement program on life support after the administration of former President Donald Trump decimated it. Biden promised to resuscitate the program and raised the refugee admissions ceiling to…
A man walks with a child through Doña Ana Village in Fort Bliss, where Afghan refugees are being housed, in New Mexico on September 10, 2021.
News

‘They Cannot Eliminate Us from Society’

“We decided to protest to demand our basic rights: the right to education, to work, and political participation. We want the Taliban to know that they cannot eliminate us from society.” Those were the words of Arezo, a young woman from Kabul who…
Women gather to demand their rights under Taliban rule during a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 3, 2021.
News

An Important Step Toward Ending Widespread Abuses Against Women

This week the Judicial Commission of Pakistan, the highest body recommending judicial appointments, will consider the nomination of Justice Ayesha Malik to the Supreme Court. If confirmed, she would become the first woman appointed to the court.…
Justice Ayesha Malik Supreme Court Pakistan
News

Polish Authorities Should Allow Access to Territory and Asylum Process

While Poland’s government touts its role in the airlift of at-risk Afghans from Kabul, it has trapped 32 Afghans for over 3 weeks at its border with Belarus, preventing them from entering Poland to exercise their right to seek asylum and denying them…
Polish security forces surround migrants at the border with Belarus in Usnarz Gorny, Poland on September 1, 2021. 
News

Dodging Responsibility with Hostile Rhetoric and Harmful Policies

Instead of showing leadership and compassion for people fleeing Taliban rule in Afghanistan, European Union leaders seem bent on a monstrous PR campaign to tell Afghans (and European voters) that those fleeing Afghanistan should not even think about…
Polish soldiers build a fence with concertina wire at the border with Belarus in Krynki, Poland, on August 27, 2021.
News

Many Unable to Flee Afghanistan Face Grave Risks

Yesterday’s bombing at Kabul’s international airport has drastically curtailed evacuation flights for at-risk Afghans. The effort was already winding down, after getting out some human rights defenders, women’s rights activists, journalists,…
Two men hold guns while riding in the back of a truck through a city street
News

International Community Needs to Increase Efforts to Help Afghans at Risk

A set of bombing attacks at the southeast gate of Kabul’s international airport on Thursday killed over 60 Afghans and at least 12 US soldiers, and wounded many more. The airport’s gates have reportedly now been closed, apparently bringing an end to…
Smoke rises from an explosion outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021.
News

August 31 Departure Leaves Many Fearing Persecution Behind

Thousands of Afghans fearing persecution by the Taliban remain waiting outside Kabul’s airport, or sheltering in their homes, hoping be evacuated out of Afghanistan. But the United States-led multinational airlift is about to wrap up.…
People inside an aircraft line up to disembark
News

Would Allow Unchecked Powers to Punish News Outlets, Journalists

The Pakistani government is seeking broad new powers to control the media as part of its crackdown on freedom of expression. Journalists, human rights activists, and political leaders across that country have raised the alarm about proposed…
Pakistani journalists and activists at a demonstration called by the journalists union to condemn attacks on the media, in Islamabad, Pakistan, on May 28, 2021.
News

Human Rights Council’s Credibility Hinges on Taking Strong Action at Emergency Session

As reports mount of grave human rights abuses by the Taliban in Afghanistan, the United Nations Human Rights Council will hold an emergency session this week. It should immediately mandate the strongest possible monitoring mechanism. Before their…
22 اگست، 2021 کو کابل، کے نواحی علاقے وزیر اکبر خان میں ایک چیک پوسٹ پر طالبان جنگجو ڈیوٹی دے رہے ہیں۔
News

Government Should Prioritize Prevention, Eradication, and Services for Survivors

On August 14, Ecuador commemorated the country’s first national day against sexual violence in schools. A year ago, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights found Ecuador responsible for the violations of Paola Guzmán Albarracín’s rights. Paola, who…
Judges at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights hear the case Paola Guzmán Albarracín’s mother brought against Ecuador in San José, Costa Rica on January 28, 2020.
News

Failure to Investigate Attacks on Press Undermines Media Freedom

The arrests this week of four journalists in Kandahar underscore rising concerns the Afghan government is trying to shield itself from media criticism. Among the many threats they face, Afghanistan’s embattled journalists should not also have to face…
Afghan journalists film at the site of a bombing attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, February 9, 2021.
News

Taliban Advances a Threat to Many Activists, Journalists, Educators

For many Afghans, the middle-of-the-night departure of US forces from Bagram Air Base was like a kick in the teeth after 20 years of supposed partnership. As the US withdrew its remaining troops from Afghanistan, Afghan government forces appear to be…
A US flag is lowered as American and Afghan soldiers attend a handover ceremony from the US Army to the Afghan National Army, at Camp Anthonic, in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan on May 2, 2021.