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UN Investigator Confirms Gender Apartheid, Finds Little Hope for Women Living Under Taliban Regime

A United Nations human rights investigator presented evidence of systematic discrimination against women under the Taliban regime. Radhika Coomaraswamy, U.N. special rapporteur on violence against women, met with Taliban authorities, non-governmental organizations, refugees, and officials in both Afghanistan and Pakistan and concluded, "I don't have enough optimism to think that the situation of women will change in Afghanistan." Coomaraswamy pointed to the public beating and lashing of women accused of “moral” offenses, a ban on women's employment, and increasing levels of prostitution and begging. She noted that Taliban policy affects every aspect of women's lives, including their health, education, employment, movement and physical security. Coomaraswamy's recommendations to the UN Commission on Human Rights will include a call for the Taliban to withdraw all their edicts against women and to dismantle the Taliban’s Department of Propagation of Virtue and Suppression of Vice, the sex police responsible for carrying out the draconian policies of the Taliban.

Media Resources: Reuters - September 12, 1999



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