HRC Side Event: Violations of women and girls’ rights to education and work: the case for gender persecution in Afghanistan

June 20, 2023 
2:00-3:00 p.m. CEST 
Palais des Nations Room XXIV

Afghanistan is a party to multiple international conventions that guarantees equal rights to education and work. Yet, “[s]ince they took control of the country,” the Taliban “have taken numerous arbitrary measures violating girls’ and women’s rights to education” and “work.” According to a member of the Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls: “Measures such as the suspension of girls’ secondary education,” and “severe barriers to employment…all fit the pattern of absolute gender segregation and are aimed at making women invisible in society.” As reflected in the Special Rapporteur’s latest report: “Instead of taking steps to eliminate discrimination against women, the authorities are normalizing it.”

The side event tackled two particular goals. First, it assessed the devastating impacts of the violations of the rights to education and work, on the future of Afghanistan. Second, it explored avenues for effective action, including on documentation for the purpose of future accountability efforts.

Featuring (in speaking order):

Nasir Ahmad Andisha
H.E. Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the UN in Geneva

María Jesús Conde
H.E. Ambassador at large for Feminist Foreign Policy, Spain

Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve
H.E. Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium

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

Nazhat Shameen Khan
Deputy Prosecutor General of International Criminal Court

Bandana Rana
Member of the Committee of the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women

Dorothy Estrada-Tank
Chair of the Working Group on Discrimination Against Women and Girls

Fawzia Koofi
Former Vice-President of the National Assembly of Afghanistan

 Shukria Barakzai
H.E. Former Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to Norway


This event was co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations Office
and other international organizations in Geneva, together with Spain, Belgium, and the Delegation of the European Union.