Social Issues

Efe’s Gabriela Cañas favors maintaining economic pressure on Taliban

Madrid, Sep 8 (EFE).- The president of Spain’s Agencia Efe, Gabriela Cañas, said Wednesday that she believes the international community can do “great things” in Afghanistan and make the Taliban respect women’s rights by using the “weapon” of economic pressure against the Islamist group.

“It is very important to keep up the pressure, because the international community can put pressure on the Taliban,” Cañas said during the Canarias Radio program “Ídolos de Tara” (Idols of Tara), in which she discussed the manifesto “Opening the Doors to Afghanistan and Afghan Women.”

The initiative, which was signed by 130,000 people, including the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature Mario Vargas Llosa, and promoted by Cañas and journalists Soledad Gallego-Díaz, Maruja Torres and Rosa Montero, urges a response from the international community following the Taliban’s seizure of power in Afghanistan.

The president of the world’s largest Spanish-language news agency described the situation of women living under a Taliban government as “gender apartheid,” because “there has been a constant attempt to wipe them from the map,” and that “they had no right to exist.”

Cañas recalled that during the 1990’s they were deprived of basic fundamental rights such as education, health or access to jobs and they were even “forced not to make noise when walking so as not to disturb the men. It is tremendously cruel,” she said.

Although “there has never been a serious response to countries that show a total absence of rights for women,” Cañas acknowledged that “positive signs are being observed in the international community in this regard.”

She referred to a recent meeting of European Union foreign ministers who agreed that one of the conditions that the EU has to impose on the Taliban government is respect for women’s rights.

“This might not seem like much but it is very important,” said Cañas, who stressed that “the world has never been so scandalized as it is now by the mistreatment of women in some societies.”

Cañas explained that the manifesto urges to keep the borders of Afghanistan open, “because there are many people who want to leave,” and asks the international community to “respect their duties of solidarity and compassion,” since “there is some fear of what happened in Syria, where the reaction was to close borders, to consider that they were irregular immigrants instead of refugees.”

Lastly, the manifesto asks that special attention be paid to at-risk women who, Cañas says, make up “practically all of them, because we know that even when a Taliban government is at its most moderate, women will always be worse off.”

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