In a speech to United Nations staff and delegates yesterday, Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke out against the Taliban’s abuse of Afghan women and girls and the trafficking of women in children for use as prostitutes in Thailand and many other nations.
“There probably is no more egregious and systematic trampling of fundamental rights of women today than what is happening in Afghanistan under the iron rule of the Taliban,” said Clinton. “We have heard all of us the stories of women being flogged with metal cables because a bit of ankle would be showing. We have heard of women being taken to hospital after hospital and finally dying … because there were no women doctors and no male doctor could be permitted to treat the women,” she continued.
Clinton vehemently declared, “It is no longer acceptable to say that the abuse and mistreatment of women in cultural. It should be called what it is — criminal.” Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright has made similar remarks in the past in reference to the treatment of Afghan girls and women under the repressive Taliban regime.
Clinton also condemned the sexual trafficking of women and girls. She told the audience of how she had met with girls who were sold into sexual slavery by their families in Thailand. “I met the girls who had come home after they had been used up, after they had contracted H.I.V. and AIDS. If you’ve ever held the had of a 13-year-old girl dying of AIDS, you can understand how critical it is that we take every step possible to prevent this happening to any other girl, anywhere, in the world.”