UN says Afghan women fear going out alone because of Taliban decrees on clothing and male guardians


ISLAMABAD (AP) — Afghan women are afraid or feel unsafe leaving their homes alone because of Taliban decrees and enforcement campaigns on clothing and male guardians, according to a report by the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan.

The report was released days before a UN-convened meeting in the Qatari capital Doha, where member states and special envoys to Afghanistan are expected to discuss the Taliban’s engagement.

they are also banned denying women access to work, travel and health care if they are unmarried or have no male guardian, and arresting those who do not observe the Taliban’s interpretation of the hijab, or Islamic headscarf.

The UN mission’s report, published on Friday, said the orders were being enforced through arrests, harassment and intimidation. The women said they were afraid to go to public places because of the threat of arrest and the “long-lasting stigma and shame” associated with being taken into police custody.

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More than half of the women interviewed for the report felt unsafe leaving home without a male guardian or mahram. The risk to their safety and their level of anxiety worsened whenever new decrees specifically targeting them were announced, the report said.

Women who went out with a mahram felt safe, but having to depend on another person to accompany them felt stressed. Some reported that their male guardians scolded them for “wasting time” if they wanted to go to certain stores or deviate from the limited route to perform basic essential tasks.

This reduces the possibility of “enjoying even subtle moments of excitement or leisure” outside the home, the report said.

Some women said that male relatives were also afraid and reluctant to leave the house with female relatives, as it could expose them to Taliban harassment.

No one from the Ministry of Vice and Virtue, which is the Taliban’s morality police and enforces the decrees, was immediately available for comment about the UN report.

Heather Barr of Human Rights Watch told The Associated Press that Afghan women’s fear of leaving home unaccompanied was “harmful and devastating”, but not surprising.

Barr said it appears that scaring women and girls from leaving their homes is a specific goal of the Taliban.

“This raises questions about what this discussion means in Doha, where the UN is hosting the special envoys,” he said. For women around the world.”

United Nations envoy to Afghanistan warned last year The Taliban believe that unless they are removed, international recognition of the country as the legitimate government will remain “almost impossible” restrictions On women.

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