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US highlights a significant decline in Afghan women’s rights over the past year

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Kabul: There was significant deterioration in women’s rights in 2023 due to edicts that further restricted access to education and employment, with a net result that women were increasingly confined to domestic roles, the U.S. State Department said in its annual human rights report.

Killings, severe physical abuse, harsh and life-threatening prison conditions, unjust detentions and abductions, restrictions on freedom of expression and media freedom, restrictions on internet freedom, restrictions on political participation; corruption and child recruitment were among human rights issues cited in the report.

It said that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) did not purport to formally change existing laws as legislated by the Republic-era government; however, they promulgated edicts that contradicted those laws and were inconsistent with Afghanistan’s obligations under international conventions.

“This year’s report also captures human rights abuses against members of vulnerable communities. In Afghanistan, the Taliban (IEA) have limited work opportunities for women, shuttered institutions found educating girls, and increasing floggings for women and men accused of, quote, ‘immoral behavior,’ end quote,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

IEA’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, in reaction to the report, said that the people of Afghanistan are Muslims and their rights are defined and ensured according to Islamic laws.

He added that the culture and human rights defined in the United States and other western countries are different from Afghanistan and Westerners should not impose their culture on other countries.

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