Kabul, Jan 5 (EFE).- The United Nations Special Rapporteur for Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, on Friday denounced the Taliban government’s arrest of women and girls over what they describe as “bad hijab” or non-compliance with the strict Islamic dress code.
Since returning to power in 2021, the Taliban have been urging women to adhere to their strict dress code, known as Islamic hijab, which requires women to cover their body head-to-toe with a veil or burqa.
“Recent arrests of women in Kabul Afghanistan for ‘bad hijab’, confirmed by Taliban, regrettably signifies further restrictions on women’s freedom of expression and undermines other rights,” Bennett said in a brief message posted on X, formerly Twitter.
The UN official emphasized the immediate and unconditional release of the arrested women.
Earlier this week, the Taliban’s Ministry of Vice and Virtue confirmed the arrest of an unspecified number of women for violating the Islamic dress code and promoting “bad hijab” in Afghan society.
Women rights organizations reported that most of these arrests occurred in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood in the west of Kabul over the past four days, with the Taliban’s moral police patrolling the streets daily.
“The situation in the west of Kabul city is extremely bad these days; the Taliban terrorist group is brutally arresting and taking girls with them under the pretext of wearing bad hijab,” the Afghan Women’s Political Participation Network said in a statement sent to EFE.
According to the statement, the Taliban have transported the women to “unknown locations” and have refused to provide information about their whereabouts to their families.
“We call for an end to these blatant crimes and violations of human rights and plead for the release of the innocent girls,” the network added.
Since the Taliban regained power two years ago, Afghan women’s rights have been drastically curtailed by a series of restrictions, including gender segregation in public spaces, the compulsory wearing of the burqa, and the requirement for women to be accompanied by a male relative on long-distance journeys.
Despite promises of change, the Taliban have reinstated the oppressive norms of their previous regime (1996-2001), based on a rigid interpretation of Islamic law that deprived women of fundamental rights, including access to education and work.
The government has also banned women from running or visiting beauty salons, recreational parks, sports, and the film industry. EFE