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FILE - Afghan women wait to receive food rations distributed by a humanitarian aid group, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, May 23, 2023. In a report issued on Monday, July 17, 2023, the U.N. says Taliban authorities have further increased restrictions on the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan in recent months. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi, File)

Amnesty International urges France to ease visas for Afghan women, girls

AT News

KABUL – Amnesty International has launched a campaign urging the French government to streamline the process of issuing visas to Afghan women and girls, as reported by Khaama Press on October 3rd. Over 4,500 individuals have come forward, appealing to France to grant visas to Afghan women and girls, offering them a safe haven in the country.

The international organization initiated an online petition on September 12th to garner support for this cause, and as of Monday, the petition has gained the support of 4,656 people. Furthermore, Amnesty International held an event in Paris last week to bolster this campaign, as reported by Khaama Press.

The petition text highlights the severe hardships faced by Afghan women and girls due to the Taliban’s systematic mistreatment and harassment. Amnesty International’s legal analysis suggests that the actions of the Taliban could potentially constitute “crimes against humanity.”

The organization has also drawn attention to the plight of women fleeing the Taliban’s mistreatment and seeking refuge in neighboring countries such as Iran and Pakistan. Shockingly, many of them encounter further abuse in these nations. According to the latest data from the United Nations, Pakistan is home to approximately 1.3 million registered Afghan refugees, with an additional 880,000 holding legal status in the country.

Official police statistics reveal a troubling trend, with at least 700 Afghans detained in Karachi since early September, a tenfold increase compared to August. Many more have been detained in various cities. Afghans allege that these arrests have been arbitrary, with accusations of extortion and disregard for valid documentation against the police.

Amnesty International has also highlighted instances of arbitrary detention of Afghan women in Iran and Pakistan, putting them at severe risk of forced repatriation to Afghanistan. Moreover, the organization has pointed out that French visas for Afghan women and girls are being issued irregularly, leading to delays and inconsistencies in the application process. Responding to these visa requests, the French consulate has faced significant delays, according to Khaama Press.

Earlier this month, Amnesty International called upon the Taliban to take immediate steps to reopen secondary schools for girls in Afghanistan. The organization emphasized that the futures and aspirations of thousands of Afghan girls hang in the balance, given that the ban on girls’ admission to secondary education in Afghanistan has been in place for two years.

This development comes exactly two years after the Taliban prohibited Afghan girls from attending secondary and high schools in Afghanistan, an edict put into effect on September 18, 2021.

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