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Civil society freedom suppressed in Afghanistan

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KABUL – A global civil rights alliance has said that the Taliban administration has repressed civil society and right activists in Afghanistan.

CIVICUS, a global alliance focused on empowering citizen action worldwide, has asserted that the Taliban government has systematically suppressed civil society and rights activism in Afghanistan, targeting, interrogating, and mistreating activists. Despite a litany of promises regarding upholding human and social rights for women and girls, the report shows a different reality.

The Taliban’s claims of protecting legitimate rights and the absence of political prisoners are contradicted by their actions. Although they have expressed support for women’s education and work opportunities, Taliban’s rise to power on August 15, 2021, led to a systematic assault on civic space. Following the transition of power, civil society organizations were subjected to targeting, office raids, and freezing of bank accounts. The IEA’s repression extended to protests, particularly those involving women’s rights activists, resulting in disruptions and mistreatment.

Journalists also faced heightened risks after the Taliban’s takeover, with many being arrested, detained, tortured, or attacked for reporting on the ground situation. Essential institutions such as the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) were shut down by the IEA.

In response, the international community took measures, appointing a Special Rapporteur to monitor human rights in Afghanistan and indefinitely postponing international recognition of the acting government. However, these efforts proved insufficient in curbing the suppression of fundamental freedoms. Over the course of two years, violations escalated, leading to CIVICUS Monitor’s reclassification of Afghanistan’s civic space rating from ‘repressed’ to ‘closed’ in March 2023.

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