Afghanistan Fares Poorly in Human Rights Report

Dr. Komal Hossain, U.N. Special Rapporteur to Afghanistan, presented a report on the status of human rights in Afghanistan to the 55th Session of the U.N. Human Rights Commission yesterday in Geneva.

Hossain reported that Taliban officials have made no significant changes regarding women’s human rights. At a news conference, he characterized the situation for women as very negative in all fields regarding women’s activities.

Dr. Hossain said that the Taliban in meetings in mid-March expressed “a more flexible attitude about girls’ access to education, indicating that girls could return to school if more of the war-damaged schools were reopened.” Nonetheless, Rubin found that hardly any girls, compared with 24% of boys, now attend school. He also noted that the only change in policies banning women’s employment was recent permission given to widows to work in order to survive. Most women still are banned from working and most girls are banned from formal education. The Taliban’s ban on women’s employment has caused a shortage of teachers, limiting educational opportunities for both girls and boys.

“While they seek international recognition, they continue to pursue policies which are in conflict with international human rights standards by which Afghanistan is bound,” Dr. Hossain said.


New York Times - April 8, 1999

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