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  • Human Rights Research Center

Afghan and Iranian Women Call for Recognition of Gender Apartheid Under International Law

March 10, 2023

[Image Source: Omer Abrar/AFP/Getty Images]

Cited article by Patrick Wintour, The Guardian


HRRC continues to express grave concern for the ongoing and increasing systematic subjugation of women in Afghanistan and Iran. While international law can take time to implement, the recognition of gender under the crime of apartheid is a significant step toward finding justice for women who are targeted and subjugated by the laws of their country.


Article Summary


A prominent group of women in Afghanistan and Iran are backing a campaign to recognize gender apartheid as a crime under international law. This campaign is launching because current laws on discrimination against women do not cover the ongoing attacks on women in Afghanistan and Iran. Currently, the crime of apartheid under international law only recognizes racial groups and not gender.


Women in Afghanistan under Taliban rule are facing extreme restrictions. Afghan women are banned from education, cannot be employed by NGO's or the government, are restricted to a severe dress code, and prohibited from traveling distances without a male escort. Iranian women face a similar strict dress code and travel restrictions, and are banned from many fields of study and sporting events. Further, they are legally considered as valuable as "half a man".


The authors of the proposal state that they are not trying to go against Muslim religion or impose Western values, but are instead addressing the systematic subjugation of women.

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