UNITED STATES NEWS

UN envoy says ICC should prosecute Taliban for crimes against humanity for denying girls education

Aug 15, 2023, 9:03 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The International Criminal Court should prosecute Taliban leaders for a crime against humanity for denying education and employment to Afghan girls and women, the U.N. special envoy for global education said.

Gordon Brown told a virtual U.N. press conference on the second anniversary of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan on Tuesday that its rulers are responsible for “the most egregious, vicious and indefensible violation of women’s rights and girls’ rights in the world today.”

The former British prime minister said he has sent a legal opinion to ICC prosecutor Karim Khan that shows the denial of education and employment is “gender discrimination, which should count as a crime against humanity, and it should be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court.”

The Taliban took power in August 2021, during the final weeks of the U.S. and NATO forces’ pullout after 20 years of war. As they did during their previous rule of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban gradually reimposed their harsh interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia, barring girls from school beyond the sixth grade and women from most jobs, public spaces and gyms and recently closing beauty salons.

Brown urged major Muslim countries to send a delegation of clerics to Afghanistan’s southern city of Kandahar, the home of Taliban supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada, to make the case that bans on women’s education and employment have “no basis in the Quran or the Islamic religion” — and to lift them.

He said he believes “there’s a split within the regime,” with many people in the education ministry and around the government in the capital, Kabul, who want to see the rights of girls to education restored. “And I believe that the clerics in Kandahar have stood firmly against that, and indeed continue to issue instructions.”

The Taliban’s chief spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, brushed aside questions about restrictions on girls and women in an Associated Press interview late Monday in Kabul, saying the status quo will remain. He also said the Taliban view their rule of Afghanistan as open-ended, drawing legitimacy from Islamic law and facing no significant threat.

Brown said the Taliban should be told that if girls are allowed to go to secondary school and university again, education aid to Afghanistan, which was cut after the bans were announced, will be restored.

He also called for monitoring and reporting on abuses and violations of the rights of women and girls, sanctions against those directly responsible for the bans including by the United States and United Kingdom, and the release of those imprisoned for defending women’s and girls’ rights.

Brown said 54 of the 80 edicts issued by the Taliban explicitly target women and girls and dismantle their rights, most recently banning them from taking university exams and visiting public places including cemeteries to pay respects to loved ones.

He announced that the U.N. and other organizations will sponsor and fund internet learning for girls and support underground schools as well as education for Afghan girls forced to leave the country who need help to go to school.

“The international community must show that education can get through to the people of Afghanistan, in spite of the Afghan government’s bans,” he said.

Brown said there are a number of organizations supporting underground schools and there is a new initiative in the last few weeks to provide curriculum through mobile phones, which are popular in Afghanistan.

He wouldn’t discuss details over concerns for the safety of students and teachers, “but there is no doubt that girls are still trying to learn, sometimes risking a lot to be able to do so.”

During the 20 years the Taliban were out of power, Brown said 6 million girls got an education, becoming doctors, lawyers, judges, members of parliament and cabinet ministers.

Today, he said, 2.5 million girls are being denied education, and 3 million more will leave primary school in the next few years, “so we’re losing the talents of a whole generation.”

Brown urged global action and pressure — not just words — to convince the Taliban to restore the rights of women and girls.

“We have not done enough in the last two years,” he said. “I don’t want another year to go by when girls in Afghanistan and women there feel that they are powerless because we have not done enough to support them.”

United States News

Associated Press

‘Catch-and-kill’ to be described to jurors as testimony resumes in hush money trial of Donald Trump

NEW YORK (AP) — A longtime tabloid publisher was expected Tuesday to tell jurors about his efforts to help Donald Trump stifle unflattering stories during the 2016 campaign as testimony resumes in the historic hush money trial of the former president. David Pecker, the former National Enquirer publisher who prosecutors say worked with Trump and […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

America’s child care crisis is holding back moms without college degrees

AUBURN, Wash. (AP) — After a series of lower-paying jobs, Nicole Slemp finally landed one she loved. She was a secretary for Washington’s child services department, a job that came with her own cubicle, and she had a knack for working with families in difficult situations. Slemp expected to return to work after having her […]

5 hours ago

Several hundred students and pro-Palestinian supporters rally at the intersection of Grove and Coll...

Associated Press

Pro-Palestinian protests sweep US college campuses following mass arrests at Columbia

NEW YORK (AP) — Columbia canceled in-person classes, dozens of protesters were arrested at New York University and Yale, and the gates to Harvard Yard were closed to the public Monday as some of the most prestigious U.S. universities sought to defuse campus tensions over Israel’s war with Hamas. More than 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators who […]

7 hours ago

Ban on sleeping outdoors under consideration in Supreme Court...

Associated Press

With homelessness on the rise, the Supreme Court weighs bans on sleeping outdoors

The Supreme Court is wrestling with major questions about the growing issue of homelessness as it considers a ban on sleeping outdoors.

8 hours ago

Arizona judge declares mistrial in case of rancher who shot migrant...

Associated Press

Arizona judge declares mistrial in the case of a rancher accused of fatally shooting a migrant

An Arizona judge declared a mistrial in the case of rancher accused of killing a Mexican man on his property near the U.S.-Mexico border.

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Trial opens for former Virginia hospital medical director accused of sexual abuse of ex-patients

NEW KENT, Va. (AP) — The former longtime medical director of a Virginia hospital that serves vulnerable children used physical examinations as a “ruse” to sexually abuse two teenage patients, a prosecutor said Monday, while the physician’s attorney “adamantly” denied any inappropriate conduct. The trial of Daniel N. Davidow of Richmond, who for decades served […]

9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

UN envoy says ICC should prosecute Taliban for crimes against humanity for denying girls education