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UN report claims Afghanistan’s morality police are violating human rights

According to the report, the ministry has enforced decrees that have a disproportionate impact on women and girls, like dress codes, segregated education and employment, and having a male guardian when they travel.



By Ariana News

July 10, 2024


Credits @FFHR.CZ



The UN said Tuesday the ministry for the propagation of virtue and prevention of vice were violating human rights and fundamental freedoms and that decrees and methods used to enforce rules were contributing to “a climate of fear and intimidation among segments” of society in Afghanistan.


The report, titled ‘De Facto Authorities’ Moral Oversight in Afghanistan: Impacts on Human Rights’ was published Tuesday and also contained the Islamic Emirate’s response to the UN’s findings.


The report stated: “As part of this engagement, Afghanistan’s de facto authorities were invited to provide factual comments on the content of the report.”


According to the report, the ministry has enforced decrees that have a disproportionate impact on women and girls, like dress codes, segregated education and employment, and having a male guardian when they travel.


“The punishments attached to non-compliance with instructions and decrees are often arbitrary, severe and disproportionate,” the report read.


“Sweeping bans with a discriminatory effect on women have been introduced. Human rights violations, as well as the unpredictability of enforcement measures, contribute to a climate of fear and intimidation among segments of the population,” the report stated.

UNAMA said it had recorded at least 1,033 instances between August 2021 and March 2024 where ministry employees “applied force during the implementation of instructions, resulting in violations of the liberty, and physical and mental integrity” of people.


The IEA responded by saying the decrees issued by the supreme leader lay “the foundation of the formal documents that are based on Islamic sources. It is a widely recognized principle in all common regimes that decrees and relevant legal documents are issued to reform society and should have their implementation ensured.”


UNAMA also stated that the use of corporal punishment was a violation of the prohibition on torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.


The organization added that the requirement for women to travel with a mahram (male guardian) beyond 78 kilometers from their home limits their right to freedom of movement and creates financial and logistical barriers for them to access employment and healthcare.


In response to this, the Islamic Emirate said the presence of mahram with a woman “is not only an Islamic value; it is also a cultural value.”


“A woman encounters criticism from the general public when she travels without a mahram. It is frowned upon in Afghan society for women to travel without a mahram.”


The IEA added that Islam also “specifies a certain distance for a woman to be accompanied by a mahram when she travels. To this end, the mahram’s presence with a woman serves to safeguard her honor and chastity.”


The report meanwhile stated that since the ministry’s establishment, its scope of responsibility has continued to expand. “In addition to intensifying monitoring of compliance with existing policies, it has introduced new instructions and expanded into new areas of enforcement,” UNAMA stated.


These areas include monitoring of the media, the eradication of drug addiction, policing of gold dealers, regulating businesses and dispute mediation between individuals, among others.


The Islamic Emirate in turn said “acts are seen as either legal or illegal,” and that the ministry was a key organization within the Islamic Emirate’s governing framework and that its “role is growing as required by the situation”.


However, Fiona Frazer, the head of UNAMA’s Human Rights Service said: “Given the multiple issues outlined in the report, the position expressed by the de facto authorities that this oversight will be increasing and expanding gives cause for significant concern for all Afghans, especially women and girls.”


Overall, the ministry rejected the UN report, calling its findings false and contradictory.


“Decrees and relevant legal documents are issued to reform society and should have their implementation ensured,” the ministry said.




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