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UN Sanctions Taliban Abuse of Women

Sunday Radhika Coomaraswamy, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, called for international pressure to force the dissolution of the Taliban government in Afghanistan. She criticized the Taliban for the extensive, systematic abuse of women.

She called the Taliban's Ministry of Vice and Virtue, "the most misogynist department in the whole world." The ministry is the agency responsible for banning Afghan women from work and school, for forcing them to wear the restrictive burqua outfit, for demanding that they travel only in the company of close male relatives, and even forbidding them to wear white socks.

According to Coomaraswamy, violators of these outrageous rules are publicly beaten with various instruments, including radio antennae ripped off nearby vehicles, but typically "with what looks like a leather cricket bat."

Such treatment has resulted in widespread clinical depression among Afghan women confined to their homes. Reports also indicate that forced marriages and prostitution, sexual assault and confinement in camps are becoming regular.

Media Resources: CNN - September 13, 1999



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