EU urged not to turn ‘blind eye’ on women’s rights in Afghanistan

The European Parliament subcommittee on Human Rights is urging countries to support women and girls” rights in Afghanistan.

Meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, MEPs focused on the risks and said there is a need for concern but “no need [for] alarmism in a way”.

Andreas Von Brandt, the EU’s envoy to Afghanistan, has said the bloc has to make sure that the moderate forces within the Taliban prevail, weeks after the extremist group took over the country.

In a joint session of the women’s rights committee and human rights subcommittee on Monday, Von Brandt said that “for the moment, and this needs to be verified and confirmed, there has not been a dramatic change so far, and that is a good thing”, adding that the bloc needs to see how things unfold.

When taking over the country, Taliban officials ensured that women would be allowed to work and travel without a male escort, but MEPs warn that the Taliban will have to be judged by their deeds.

The head of the EU delegation to Afghanistan also added that there are “negative things happening”.

Afghan women’s rights defenders disagreed with the ambassador’s assessment and called for the EU not to be complicit in human rights abuses by turning a blind eye.

Meanwhile female students remain fearful about their education in Afghanistan.

A school in Mazar-e Sharif saw the number of girls going to class drop by half since the Taliban took control, where normally 4,000 students would attend.

“They say you can study up to grade six, then you can’t continue. But I don’t like the idea of not being allowed to continue studying.”

“They say they will put obstacles in the way so you can’t study what you want. That girls can’t become teachers or doctors,” an Afghan girl said.

Women protested in Mazar-e Sharif, demanding equal rights and a participation in the new government which is yet to be announced. Taliban forces used gunshots to disperse the protest.

“Mullah Baradar said that they will give rights to women, but not at the highest levels of government. We do not want this. There are many women who support their families financially,” a Balkh resident noted.

Afghan women’s rights defenders are raising the alarm on women’s rights in Afghanistan, as all the moves from the extremist regime have been contradictory so far.

Watch the full video report in the player above.

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