End Gender Apartheid: International Law & Women’s Rights in Afghanistan

March 1, 2024
9:00-10:30 a.m. EST


Since August 2021, the Taliban have viciously attacked women’s rights and freedoms, leaving no areas of Afghan society untouched. Their more than 100 comprehensive and draconian decrees have banned women and girls from public spaces like parks and restaurants, implemented strict dress codes and male chaperone (mahram) requirements, and, tragically, denied women and girls access to educational and professional opportunities.

The effects of the Taliban’s edicts are unimaginable and immeasurable. UN experts have described the Taliban’s treatment of women as “severe discrimination that may amount to gender persecution—a crime against humanity—and be characterized as gender apartheid.”

On the first day of Women’s History Month, this virtual event presented a critical opportunity for legal and human rights experts to address growing restrictions on Afghan women and girls, assess support for the codification of gender apartheid, and discuss the implications of UN Member States’ recognition of gender apartheid ahead of the UN General Assembly Sixth Committee’s resumed session in April.


Shaharzad Akbar, Executive Director, Rawadari

Richard Bennett, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan

Professor Hannah R. Garry, Executive Director, Promise Institute for Human Rights, UCLA

Metra Mehran, Gender and Policy Advisor, Strategic Litigation Project, Atlantic Council

Alyssa Yamamoto, Senior Legal and Policy Advisor, Strategic Litigation Project, Atlantic Council

Moderated by Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Executive Director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security

Co-hosted by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, the Atlantic Council’s Strategic Litigation Project, and the End Gender Apartheid campaign.