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UN says human rights in Afghanistan in 'state of collapse'

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
An Afghan woman walks among Taliban soldiers at a checkpoint in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Photo by Reuters)

The United Nations rights chief warns about a systematic assault on the freedom of Afghanistan’s people, saying that human rights in the country are in a state of collapse.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk told the Human Rights Council in Geneva that the Taliban have waged a systematic assault on the freedom of Afghanistan’s people, including women and girls.

“Human rights in Afghanistan are in a state of collapse, acutely affecting the lives of millions of women, men, girls and boys.”

He said, “The shocking level of oppression of Afghan women and girls is immeasurably cruel.”

Turk’s speech coincides with the publication of a UN report, which indicates a “systematic regression of the rule of law and human rights in Afghanistan, particularly with regard to the rights of women and girls.”

The report did not give a comparison with the pre-Taliban period under President Ashraf Ghani, but such abuses have not been uncommon in Afghanistan's recent history.

Two years ago, the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan as US and NATO forces withdrew from the country after more than two decades of war.

Since they assumed power, girls more than 12 years of age have been barred from attending school and a nationwide ban has been implemented on women from attending universities.

Afghan women have also been banned from working in various sectors with restrictions imposed even on their movement.

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