KABUL – Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Thursday called for the Taliban government’s treatment of women and girls in Afghanistan to be declared a crime against humanity. He even called on the International Criminal Court to prosecute those responsible for the “systematic brutalization of women and girls”.
Serving as the UN special envoy for global education, Brown said the evidence of crimes against humanity in Afghanistan was overwhelming including that there was complete discrimination against women.
“Complete discrimination against women, banned from university, banned from schools, banned from public places, banned from any activities where they’re walking on their own. Required to wear a particular dress — not even just the normal dress of a Muslim but very particular requirements on dress — and all those being prosecuted, including the leader of the NGOs, who are forcing the pressure for girls’ rights, now in prison. So this is systematic brutalization of women and girls,” he said.
His appeal follows an extraordinary intervention from Tobias Ellwood MP, chair of the Commons defence select committee, who praised the Taliban’s governance while on a trip to Afghanistan in July and called for the UK to reengage with the fundamentalists. Ellwood later apologized.
It’s been two years since the Taliban swept to power after the West’s chaotic exit from Kabul. The Taliban’s leadership has set about expunging women from every part of public life through religious edicts and violence.