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After killing Muslim women, the international community cannot teach us how to treat them

Students in a secondary school attend a lesson as education in primary and secondary schools continue in Taliban's stronghold city Kandahar, Afghanistan on 28 September 2021 [Bilal Güler/Anadolu Agency]
Students in a secondary school attend a lesson as education in primary and secondary schools continue in Taliban's stronghold city Kandahar, Afghanistan on 28 September 2021 [Bilal Güler/Anadolu Agency]

Early this week, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, claimed that the Taliban did not maintain its promises regarding women's and girls' rights, following the liberation of their country from the American internationally-backed occupation which lasted 20 years. He urged the Taliban, the new rulers of Afghanistan, to fulfil their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law.

"Central to those promises was the possibility of women to move, to work and to enjoy their basic rights —and for girls to have effective access to all levels of education, the same as boys," Guterres told reporters at the UN headquarters.

"I am particularly alarmed to see promises made to Afghan women and girls by the Taliban being broken," he said, adding: "Broken promises lead to broken dreams for the women and girls of Afghanistan. He called for Afghanistan's women and girls "to be the centre of attention."

Following the announcement of the Taliban cabinet, which does not include any women, there has been uproar around the world because they considered this a show of suppression of women. Dozens of Afghani women took to the streets chanting against this, which had very wide global media coverage. "We want equal rights, we want women in government." The BBC reported one of the women as saying: "We cannot accept this, and that's why we came out."

So, it seems that the world is worried about the situation of Muslim women, which they claim is deteriorating in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of the US and international occupation forces from the country.

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Yes, they are right. Like everyone who has conscience, I am also worried about the conditions for women in Afghanistan and I will not tolerate any oppression to be practiced, but it is not only Muslim women in Afghanistan who need to be worried about, but all Muslim women around the world.

For example, Guterres needs to have a look at Muslim women in China, the Uyghur region, where hundreds of thousands of women and girls have been detached from their families and are being locked in "concentration camps", while the world is paying little attention to them, with very little media coverage and little reaction from world leaders and international bodies.

There are scores of women and girls serving long sentences in Egyptian jails, which are not even suitable for animals. Several rights groups have highlighted their issue, but neither Guterres nor any world leader has given them the attention they deserve.

Even the US Congress, when it blocked part of the American military aid to Egypt, called for Cairo to improve the human rights situation and only called for the release of some 15 or 16 rights activists, who are working with a secular NGO.

Several UN bodies, headed by Guterres, have issued reports, saying that women and children in Yemen are living through the worst human crisis on earth. Their plight has been ignored, too.

The list is too long regarding the humiliation of the rights of Muslim women around the world, but the international community, run by the oppressive permanent members of the UN Security Council, put their and their allies' interests and plans over every single right of other nations and peoples.

Another example is the Muslims in India, who are being persecuted by the government and Hindu mobs. This includes women, girls and children. They are being forcibly expelled from their homes and being detained, beaten and killed and no real or official voices have been raised.

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The decades-long Indian occupation of Kashmir and the daily atrocities committed by the Indian occupation forces against Kashmiris have seen the oppression and suppression of women and girls in Kashmir. It is worth noting that, for decades, there have been only muted voices that call for the Indian occupation to end, for this Muslim territory to be liberated and for the oppression of its Muslim inhabitants to be stopped.

In Palestine, there are women and girls who have beaten, detained and killed. The international community knows everything but, because the victim is a Muslim and the oppressor is not, the world turns a blind eye.

The 20 years of US occupation in Afghanistan produced a team of female judo athletes, a number of female cyclists, a number of musicians and a number of footballers, in addition to a number of flight cabin crew. However, thousands of women were killed and tens of thousands widowed, with tens of thousands of orphaned girls in addition to tens of thousands of mothers losing their loved ones.

During this period in Afghanistan, no effort was made by the US to encourage female scientists and scholars. No schools and universities for girls and women were built. No appropriate infrastructure was built in the country in order to make the life of women and girls comfortable.

The irony here is that the people who have been terrorising and killing Afghani people for two decades are currently calling for Afghani rulers not to terrorise and kill their people.

The issue for the international community is not women's rights or people's lives, it is the prejudged decisions, plans and disinformation campaigns that the enemies of Afghanistan must give up in order to let the country survive and stand up for all of its people, males and females.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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AfghanistanAfricaArticleAsia & AmericasChinaEgyptIndiaInternational OrganisationsOpinionUN
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