Gordon Brown condemns Taliban’s treatment of women as a crime against humanity

The treatment of women and girls under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan has been described by former UK prime minister Gordon Brown as a “crime against humanity”. Brown called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to take action against those responsible for the severe abuse of human rights. He referred to the restrictions placed on women and girls, including exclusion from education, employment, and public spaces, as a form of gender apartheid. Brown argued that the ICC should investigate and prosecute those accountable for these crimes. He also called for UK sanctions against Taliban leaders and the support of Muslim-majority countries’ leaders and clerics in promoting the value of women and girls within Islam.

Brown’s intervention comes as the two-year anniversary approaches of the Taliban’s takeover following the withdrawal of Western troops. The Taliban had promised a more moderate rule, but the reality has been far from it. Afghan women have held rare protests against the closure of female beauty parlors and salons, and girls have been banned from attending secondary school, while women are excluded from university. Additionally, women and girls are prohibited from entering amusement parks, gyms, and working in non-governmental organizations, and are subjected to a strict dress code.

The United Nations has previously highlighted the dire conditions faced by Afghan women, who often feel invisible, isolated, and suffocated, living in prison-like conditions. Many are unable to meet their basic needs due to lack of employment or aid. Brown emphasized the need for international pressure on the Taliban regime, as he was shocked by the limited response thus far.

By calling on the ICC to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the repression of women, Brown hopes to exert pressure on the Taliban to reconsider their actions. The threat of potential prosecution may serve as a deterrent and contribute to the protection of women’s rights. He further stressed the importance of representing Islam as a religion that values women and girls, urging leaders and clerics from Muslim-majority countries to join in condemning the Taliban’s treatment of women.

The Taliban’s systematic brutalization and exclusion of women and girls from education, employment, and public life constitutes a violation of human rights. It is crucial for the international community to address these crimes and hold those responsible accountable. The actions of the Taliban not only infringe upon the fundamental rights of Afghan women and girls but also undermine the principles of equality and justice. With the ICC’s involvement and the support of influential figures, there is hope for progress in safeguarding the rights and freedom of Afghan women in the face of oppressive forces.