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MRG expresses concern about the situation of minority women in Afghanistan

5 July 2022

Mister President,

Minority Rights Group International (MRG) welcomes the convening of this urgent debate. As the situation concerning the human rights of women and girls in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, ongoing economic and political instability has led to difficult circumstances for minority women and girls.

Confronting intersectional discrimination, minority women and girls have seen their livelihoods severely eroded in recent months. This especially includes those belonging to the Hazara community, a largely Shi’a ethnic minority that has long-faced violence and discrimination.

Minority women in Afghanistan have tended to have a higher degree of participation in economic and social life, including greater representation in the workforce prior to August 2021. The closure of women-owned and -run businesses has disproportionately impacted these women, their economic security and that of their dependents. Several Hazara women business owners in Kabul have reported that their establishments have been shut down by authorities, impacting the livelihoods of their families. The intergenerational effects of these measures are exacerbated by mounting restrictions on access to education, curtailing prospects for girls.

The visibility of minority women, on account of their ethnic and linguistic backgrounds and participation in public life, has left them particularly vulnerable to targeting by the Taliban. Minority women working with NGOs in Kabul and Kandahar have been victim to targeted warnings, including death threats, from local authorities to cease their work. They emphasise that this is a consequence of the language they speak, their faith, as well as their gender.

In light of this situation, we call on the Human Rights Council to ensure that the specific circumstances affecting minority women and girls are monitored, documented, and addressed.

I thank you.

Watch the statement

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