LONDON (Reuters) – Pakistani Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai reacted on Monday to an order by the Afghan Taliban government to force women to cover their faces in public, saying the Taliban want to erase girls and women of all public life in Afghanistan.
Malala, who is also an education activist, took to Twitter and said the Taliban wanted to stop girls from going to school and women from working, denying them the ability to travel without a member. family and force them to cover their faces and their bodies completely.
“We must not lose our sense of alarm for Afghan women as the Taliban continue to break their promises. Even now, women are taking to the streets to fight for their human rights and dignity – all of us, and especially those in Muslim countries, must stand with them,” she said.
She called on world leaders to take collective action to hold the Taliban accountable for violating the human rights of millions of women and girls.
It should be recalled that an edict by Taliban Supreme Leader Haibatullah Akhundzada stated that if a woman did not cover her face outside the home, her father or closest male relative would be visited and risked be imprisoned or fired from public office.
The group said the ideal face covering was the all-encompassing blue burqa – in reference to the garment that was compulsory for women in public during the previous Taliban regime of 1996-2001.
Most women in Afghanistan wear headscarves for religious reasons, but many in urban areas like Kabul do not cover their faces.
The Taliban have been heavily criticized by Western governments, but also by some religious scholars and Islamic nations, for limiting women’s rights, including keeping girls’ high schools closed.
The United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a statement on Saturday that it would immediately seek to meet with the Taliban on the matter, adding that it would consult with other members of the international community on the implications of the decision.