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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.
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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.
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As Outrage Against Abuses Grows, Fix Bill’s Major Gaps and Pass It

(Beirut) – Iran should address gaps in its long-awaited draft law on violence against women that offers limited protections for survivors of domestic violence, and put it before the parliament for a vote, Human Rights Watch said today. Over the…
Iranian women wearing masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus walk at the Grand Bazaar in Tehran on February 20, 2020.
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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…
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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
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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.
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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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October 10 is a historic day in Iran – For the first time, women will be allowed the basic right to attend a FIFA World Cup qualifier match. But why is there a seat limit for women? Iran’s Azadi (Freedom) Stadium holds 85,000 people, but only 3,000 seats…
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FIFA Should Urgently Overturn Discriminatory Ticket Limit of 4,600 Women

(New York) – Iran’s plan to cap the number of women who can attend a football World Cup qualifier match in Tehran is discriminatory, deceptive, and dangerous, Human Rights Watch said today.   Tickets to the historic…
Female Iranian spectators cheer as they wave their country's flag during a friendly soccer match between Iran and Bolivia, at the Azadi (Freedom) stadium, in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018.
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FIFA Should Enforce Nondiscrimination Rules, Secure Women’s Release

(New York) – The Iranian government should release women detained because they are alleged to have dressed as men to circumvent a ban on women attending football matches, Human Rights Watch said today. Among the women reportedly detained on August…
Supporters of Iran watch the Morocco vs Iran match in a fan zone in Moscow, Russa, on June 15, 2018.
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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.
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Lawyers, Women’s Rights Activists Arrested

(Beirut) – Iranian authorities have ramped up their crackdown against human rights defenders, Human Rights Watch said today. Since August 31, 2018, they have arrested four more human rights defenders, as well as Reza Khandan, husband of…
Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and Farhad Meysami, a human rights defender, protest the suspension of  Sotoudeh's law license in front of the Tehran bar association in Tehran, February 2015.
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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

Opening World Cup Screening, Volleyball Matches Are Steps in Right Direction

(Beirut) – Iranian authorities and the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) should ensure that women and girls can freely attend all future men’s sports matches in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. On June…
Women watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup match between Iran and Portugal in a public viewing event at Azadi Stadium in Tehran, Iran on June 25, 2018. © 2018 Getty Images
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  “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.
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On May 14, the Kenyan justice system failed women miserably. The Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Kenya, petitioned the High Court, challenging the provisions of section 7 of the Matrimonial Property Act, 2013. The section makes ownership of…
Two widows in eastern Zimbabwe, facing harassment from in-laws who are trying to force them to vacate their homes and fields. Rural Eastern Zimbabwe, October 2016.
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Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
News

The Government Has Defined Harassment, But Abuse is Still Common

Any Afghan woman can tell you that sexual harassment is widespread in Afghanistan. A 2016 study found 90 percent of the 346 women and girls interviewed said they had experienced sexual harassment in public places, 91 percent in…
A demonstrator attends a rally outside the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, Belgium, October 5, 2016.
Video
Afghan government and international donor efforts since 2001 to educate girls have significantly faltered in recent years. Sixteen years after the US-led military intervention in Afghanistan ousted the Taliban, an estimated two-thirds of Afghan girls do…