UN Women’s Bahous Asks UN to Declare ‘Gender Apartheid’ in Afghanistan

The intensifying crackdown by Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers on women and girls makes them prisoners living in darkness, confined to their homes without hope or future and the UN Security Council must support governments seeking to legally declare this policy “gender apartheid”, the executive director of UN Women, Sima Bahous, appealed on Tuesday.

Bahous, whose agency promotes gender equality, informed the UN’s most powerful body, that more than 50 increasingly dire Taliban edicts are being enforced upon women and girls with more severity – including by male family members- exacerbating mental health issues and suicidal thoughts among young women and is shrinking their decision-making even in the perceived safety of their own homes.

Originating in South Africa, the apartheid, under international law, is defined as a system of legalized racial segregation but can also apply to gender in cases where women and girls face systematic discrimination like that in Afghanistan, international experts, officials, and activists argue.

Based on that, Bahous urged the 15-member council to lend their full support to an intergovernmental process to explicitly codify gender apartheid in international law in a situation that lacks existing international law to respond to mass, state-sponsored gender oppression.

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