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It Matters when the UN, Governments, and Aid Agencies Send Only Men to Talk to the Taliban

What do Turkmenistan and UNICEF have in common? How about the United Kingdom and the UNDP, and at least nine other countries and four other humanitarian and development organizations? They all appear to…
Taliban Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, center, meets with Sir Simon Gass, the British prime minister's high representative for Afghan transition, left, at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, October 5, 2021.
News

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

Situation Worsening Every Day

There is no better symbol for the disappearance of women’s rights in Afghanistan than the end of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the return of the Ministry for Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. When the Taliban on September 7 announced…
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News
In the first Taliban news conference after the group regained control of the Afghan capital, Kabul, Taliban spokesperson, Zabiullah Mujahid sought to reassure women. “Our sisters, our men have the same rights,” he said. But Afghan women know the…
Women gather to demand their rights under Taliban rule during a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 3, 2021.
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

Women in City of Herat Describe Loss of Freedoms Overnight

(New York) – The Taliban in Afghanistan’s western city of Herat are committing widespread and serious human rights violations against women and girls, Human Rights Watch and the San Jose State University (SJSU) Human Rights Institute said today. Since…
A Taliban member watches as women demonstrate for human rights in Herat, Afghanistan, September 2, 2021. 
News

Women’s Autonomy Should Be at Center of Abortion Regulation

(Washington, DC, September 14, 2021) – Mexico's Supreme Court has issued two rulings that set important precedents for reproductive justice not only for Mexico but for the Americas, Human Rights Watch said today. On September 7, 2021, the Supreme…
A woman holds up a banner that reads "My body, I decide" during a rally to celebrate the decision of the Mexican Supreme Court that found the total criminalization of abortion to be unconstitutional, in Saltillo, Mexico September 7, 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
Now that evacuations from Kabul’s airport have ended and the last foreign troops have gone, the focus shifts to the long-term human rights crisis in Afghanistan. The issue is what life will be like in Afghanistan—especially for women and girls—and what…
Women gather to demand their rights under Taliban rule during a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 3, 2021.
News
Time is running out for tens of thousands of Afghans trying to flee the Taliban after their takeover of the country.  President Joe Biden stated on Friday that military forces stationed at Kabul airport have a “mission to…
Afghan families get off the Spanish military plane at the Torrejón de Ardoz military base in Madrid. The flight that left Kabul was carrying five Spaniards and 48 Afghan refugees, including 10 minors. 
News
In a news conference on Tuesday, the first since the Taliban gained control of the Afghan capital, Kabul, the official Taliban spokesperson, Zabiullah Mujahid sought to reassure women. “Our sisters, our men have the same rights,” he said. “They are…
Women walking Nadir Khan Overlooking Kabul womens rights us withdrawl
News

Now that the Taliban are back, what does that mean for women's rights?

“But can we trust the Taliban on women’s rights?” has been a favorite question of journalists in recent years. The answer used to be “no”; the answer now is that it doesn’t matter much. The Taliban have swept back to power, and dealing with them…
A painted mural with Arabic writing on a building
Report
Summary The international reconstruction effort in Afghanistan after 2001 created an opportunity to advance human rights, and women’s and girls’ rights in particular. Although its achievements have fallen short of what was envisioned, significant…
News

Fragile Gains Made Since 2001 Should Be Expanded, Protected

With the withdrawal of the last US forces from Afghanistan, fighting in the country has intensified and the Taliban are gaining ground. The prospect of an expanded civil war and widening Taliban control looms. In the midst of it all, many donor countries…
Delegates attend the last day of the Afghan Loya Jirga meeting in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, May 3, 2019.
News

Taliban Gains Further Risk Crucial Legal Protections

(New York) – The Afghan government’s failure to provide accountability for violence against women and girls has undermined progress to protect women’s rights, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Gains by Taliban forces as the United…
A painted mural with Arabic writing on a building
News

Twenty Rights Groups Call for Justice and Accountability

Human Rights Watch today joined Afghan and international human rights organizations calling for a United Nations-mandated fact-finding mission to investigate escalating attacks on civilians in Afghanistan to promote justice and accountability.…
The mother of a schoolgirl who was among those killed in the brutal May 8, 2021 bombing of the Sayed ul-Shuhada girls' school stands inside a classroom with bouquets of flowers on empty desks as a tribute to the dead, in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 16, 2021. 
News

Submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Human Rights Watch welcomes the opportunity to provide input to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for his thematic report to the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly regarding the rights of persons with…