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Taliban publish decree on women’s rights

In Afghanistan, the hardline Islamist Taliban have advocated respect for some women's rights three and a half months after returning to power.

In Afghanistan, the hardline Islamist Taliban have advocated respect for some women’s rights three and a half months after returning to power.

In a decree published on Friday, they instructed organizations, religious scholars and elders to take serious measures to enforce women’s rights.

Literally, it says: “A woman is not a property, but a noble and free human being; no one can give her to anyone in exchange for peace deal and or to end animosity.”

So far, the Islamists have significantly restricted women’s rights again since taking power in mid-August.

The decree cites as one of the rights that no one may force an unmarried woman or a widow to marry. Nor should anyone make women available to anyone in exchange for peace or to end hostilities.

In Afghanistan, it happens time and again that a woman is given as reparation in family feuds, for example. Widows would also be entitled to an inheritance as well as a bridal gift if they remarry, the decree says.

The decree also calls on two ministries as well as the courts to ensure that these rights are publicized and implemented.

The positions in the decree are altogether not new and are also in line with the rules of Islam. Previous Afghan laws also guaranteed these rights. However, they were often not granted even before the Taliban came to power. They were often not enforceable in court.

The new decree does not mention women’s rights regarding education or work. Since returning to power, the Islamists have noticeably curtailed women’s rights. In many cases, they can no longer return to their jobs. Most secondary schools for girls are closed.

Street protests by women activists have been violently suppressed. Many have fled the country.

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