In Afghanistan, three and a half months after their return to power, the hardline Islamist Taliban movement has risen to respect women’s rights. In a resolution announced Friday, they ordered organizations, religious scholars and elders to take serious steps to advance women’s rights. The resolution states that “a woman is not a property, but a noble and a free person.”
So far, it is clear that the Islamists have curtailed women’s rights since they took power in mid-August. However, the decree states that no one may force an unmarried or widowed woman to marry. No one should offer women in exchange for peace or an end to hostility. In Afghanistan, it is more common for a woman to be abandoned as satisfaction, for example during a family conflict. Widows have the right to inheritance and dowry if they remarry.
The resolution also called on the two ministries and the judiciary to ensure that women’s rights are announced and enforced. In general, the positions presented in the text are not new and correspond to the provisions of Islam. Afghan laws also guarantee these rights. Before the Taliban seized power, they were often not noticed. Often it can not be imposed in court.
The resolution is silent on women’s rights to education and work. Since the Islamists’ return to power, women are no longer able to work in many cases. Most girls’ secondary schools are closed. Street protests by activists were violently suppressed. Many activists fled the country.