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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

Afghanistan is Emblematic of Crises the ICC Was Created to Address

The Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan has magnified concerns about an accelerating human rights crisis in the country. Already the world’s deadliest conflict since 2017, Afghanistan had seen a steady rise in attacks on civilians…
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

Trump Executive Order Seeks to Thwart Justice for Victims

(Washington, DC) – The Trump administration’s announced action against the International Criminal Court (ICC) escalates its efforts to thwart justice for victims of serious crimes, Human Rights Watch said today. On June 11, 2020, President Donald…
Illustration of the scales of justice replaced by two people shackled by their wrists and dangling in the air.
News
  The impending start of the intra-Afghan peace negotiations has raised hopes for an end to Afghanistan’s long war. Among the many grave anxieties remaining, however, is whether a future agreement will address past human rights abuses or if…
The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, February 6, 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

Court Allows Prosecutor to Investigate Alleged War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity

Afghans who are skeptical about whether the US-Taliban agreement and planned intra-Afghan peace talks can deliver a better future, now have reason to believe that justice might not be squandered in the process. Today, judges on the International Criminal…
Afghan family leaves site of attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, December 22, 2016. © 2016 Reuters
News

Member Countries Should Strongly Support Court’s Independence

The International Criminal Court (ICC) decision to approve an investigation in Afghanistan gives atrocity victims hope for future justice, Human Rights Watch said today. On March 5, 2020, ICC appeals chamber judges unanimously approved…
A member of the Afghan security forces stands at the site of a truck bomb attack in Kabul, May 31, 2017.
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.
News
  Recently, a panel of International Criminal Court (ICC) judges unanimously rejected Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s November 2017 request to open an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity…
The Permanent Premises of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.
News

Victims Denied Path to Justice; Decision Benefits Obstructionist States

  (The Hague) – The decision by International Criminal Court (ICC) judges not to open a formal investigation into alleged grave crimes in Afghanistan denies the country’s victims a path to justice, Human Rights Watch…
The Permanent Premises of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.
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

Human Rights Council Panel commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Genocide Convention

As we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Genocide Convention, I wish to address the crucial role of the International Criminal Court in realizing its ideals. This year also marks the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the ICC’s…
201804ij_icc_anniversary_20
News

Policy Bans Government Doctors from Conducting Abusive Tests

A new policy in Afghanistan promises to bar government health workers from engaging in the abusive practice of forcing women and girls to undergo invasive and medically meaningless vaginal and anal exams to determine whether they are “…
A demonstrator attends a rally outside the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, Belgium, October 5, 2016.
News
  “Evelina” (not her real name), 17, looks immaculate in her pressed white-and-blue school uniform and her neatly divided cornrows, as she futilely tries to escape the sweltering heat of western Kenya beneath a shady tree. Her black leather shoes…
“Evelina,” 17, with her 3-year-old daughter “Hope,” in Migori county, western Kenya. Evelina is in Form 2, the second year of lower secondary school.