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Report by Human Rights Watch Associate Director for Women’s Rights, Heather Barr

The plight of Afghan women under the Taliban was used in many countries to convince voters to support the US-led military intervention in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks on the US. “Only the terrorists and the Taliban forbid education to women,”…
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
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(New York, May 6, 2021) – Falling donor support for essential services in Afghanistan is reducing women’s access to essential health care, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. More cuts are likely in coming months following the announcement…
Report
Summary Over the past two decades, Afghanistan has depended on international donor support to fund essential services like health care. But this donor support has been falling for years and will likely to continue do so—perhaps precipitously—…
News

Dropping Donor Support Threatens Essential Services

(New York) – Falling donor support for essential services in Afghanistan is reducing women’s access to essential health care, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. More cuts are likely in coming months following the announcement by…
A new mother holds her hour-old baby in the maternity ward at Dasht-e-Barchi hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, October 2020. She had travelled from neighboring Laghman province to give birth at the hospital. On May 12, 2020, unidentified gunmen attacked the hospital’s maternity ward, killing 24 people, including 16 mothers, 2 children, and a midwife. Three new mothers were killed in the delivery room. Another 20 people, including babies, were injured in the four-hour attack. Ongoing security concerns have lef
News

US Should Support a Genuinely Inclusive Process, Not Just ‘Parallel’ Events

(New York) – Women should have full participation in the talks between Afghan government officials, opposition political leaders, and the Taliban under United Nations auspices, Human Rights Watch said today. Human rights advocates in…
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attends a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan on June 14, 2017.
News

Near Exclusion at Moscow Summit Highlights Threat to Rights

(New York) – Afghanistan’s government and its international partners are failing in their obligation to ensure that Afghan women are full participants in all peace processes. In keeping with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on women,…
Former President Hamid Karzai, left, and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, second right, attend an international peace conference in Moscow, Russia, March 18, 2021.
News

Issue XV: The impact of COVID19- on women and girls’ education

UN Women, UNICEF and Human Rights Watch jointly issue this fifteenth alert to continue to highlight the gender specific impact of COVID-19 in Afghanistan. This alert focuses on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls’ education and the…
News

Abuses Persist, Protections Fragile as Peace Talks Begin

(New York) – The Taliban in Afghanistan have imposed severe restrictions on rights in areas under their control despite claims of reform, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Residents reported an inability to criticize or question…
Two children walk by armed soldiers in the countryside
News

Government, Taliban Cooperation Needed to Help Millions at Risk

(New York) – The Afghan government and Taliban should urgently work together with the United Nations and aid agencies to improve access to health care for the millions of Afghans most at risk from COVID-19, Human Rights Watch said today…
A medical officer scans a passenger for signs of fever at a bus station as a precaution against the coronavirus in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 27, 2020. © 2020 Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
News

Ensure Medical Care for Those in Custody

(New York) – Pakistani authorities should take urgent steps to ensure that prisoners and detainees have access to adequate medical care and protective measures against COVID-19, Human Rights Watch said today. Prisons, jails, and…
A volunteer checks the temperature of passengers arriving at a railway station in Peshawar, Pakistan, March 17, 2020.
News
This is a moment of both fear and hope for Afghan women — and an urgent time for the world to support their hard-won rights. The Feb. 29 deal between the US and the Taliban could pave the way for a peace that Afghans desperately seek.…
Women walk along a street in the old part of Kabul February 29, 2020.
News

Talks Should Include Women, Victims’ Groups, Reformers

(New York) – Upcoming talks between the Taliban, the Afghan government, and other Afghan political leaders should make human rights protections a priority, Human Rights Watch said today. The negotiations should include meaningful participation by…
Women walk along a street in the old part of Kabul February 29, 2020.
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The Afghan government is failing to provide sufficient psychosocial, or mental health, support to Afghans who have experienced traumatic events, Human Rights Watch said today. More than half the Afghan population, including many survivors of…
News

4 Civilians Executed in Second Attack on Facility in Wardak Province

(Kabul) – Afghan special forces raided a medical clinic in Wardak province on the night of July 8-9, 2019, and executed four civilians, Human Rights Watch said today. Afghan authorities should promptly and thoroughly investigate the attack and…
Afghan special police forces attend their graduation ceremony at a special forces training center in Kabul.
News

Alleged Sexual Assault, Injustice Violate Rights, Deny Equal Access to Sport

(New York) – Afghan authorities should fully investigate and appropriately prosecute the sexual assault claims by 20 members of Afghanistan’s national women’s football team, Human Rights Watch said today. The Fédération Internationale de Football…
Afghanistan women’s football team.
News

The UK Should Urge Him to Keep Promises on Girls’ Education

Pakistan’s new government has promised to fix one of the country’s biggest conundrums—how to get more girls into school. The UK—which gives more aid to Pakistan than any other country, much of it for education—should both push and help Imran Khan’s…
Two students at a free non-government school for poor children in the Lyari neighborhood of Karachi, Pakistan.
Report
*/ Summary If we don’t get education, our nation won’t progress. —Rabiya, 23, single mother of a daughter, Karachi, July 2017. Pakistan was described as “among the world’s worst performing countries in education,” at…
News

Barriers Include Underinvestment, Fees, Discrimination

(London) – The Pakistan government is failing to educate a huge proportion of the country’s girls, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 111-page report, “‘Shall I Feed My Daughter, or Educate Her?’: Barriers to Girls’…
201811wrd_pakistan_girlseducation
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