Afghan women highlighted during international campaign against gender-based violence

KABUL (TOLONews): The United Nations on November 25 launched “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence,” intended to bring attention to the need to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls.

The campaign comes amid high concerns over violations of human rights in Afghanistan, with international human rights watchdogs stating that the “Taliban” failed to fulfill what they pledged regarding women’s rights in Afghanistan.

“The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicked off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day,” UN Women said in a statement.

According to the UN, the campaign was started by activists at the inauguration of the Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991. The statement said that the campaign is aimed to provide an organizing strategy by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

After the Islamic Emirate came to power, girls and women have been systematically deprived of education, work, and the right to visit parks and cinemas as well as other forms of recreation in public areas.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in an earlier statement that Afghanistan was already one of the world’s most difficult countries to be a woman, both personally and professionally, even before the “Taliban’s” take over of the country.

“Even before the Taliban de facto authorities (DfA) took control of Afghanistan in August 2021, it was already one of the world’s most difficult countries in which to be a woman, both personally and professionally,” the UN agency said. “But since the takeover, the hurdles facing women – especially those living in rural areas – have only grown.”

In September, Human Rights Watch said in a report that since taking over the country in August 2021, “the Taliban have imposed laws and policies intended to deny women and girls throughout the country their fundamental rights because of their gender.”

“The Taliban’s cruel and methodical denial of the basic rights of women and girls to remove them from public life has received global attention,” said Elizabeth Evenson, international justice director at Human Rights Watch. “Coordinated support by concerned governments is needed to bring the Taliban leaders responsible to justice.”

The UN Women said that the UNITE Campaign this year focuses on “UNITE! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls.”

“The campaign calls on citizens to show how much they care about ending violence against women and girls by sharing the actions they are taking to create a world free from violence towards women,” it said. This year’s campaign, the UN Women said, “also calls on governments worldwide to share how they are investing in gender-based violence prevention.”