Taliban disperses Afghan women’s march for ‘work and freedom’ | News

Taliban fighters beat feminine protesters and fired into the air on Saturday to dispersed a uncommon rally within the Afghan capital, Kabul, days earlier than the first anniversary of the group’s return to energy.

About 40 ladies marched on the schooling ministry in Kabul, chanting “bread, work and freedom”. Regardless of the pledges made when it retook energy, the Taliban has limited Afghan women’s rights, together with conserving highschool lady college students out of college.

Some protesters who took refuge in close by outlets have been chased and crushed by Taliban fighters with their rifle butts, in response to the AFP information company.

The demonstrators carried a banner, which learn “August 15 is a black day” as they demanded rights to work and political participation.

“Justice, justice. We’re fed up with ignorance,” they chanted, many not sporting face veils.

“Sadly, the Taliban from the intelligence service got here and fired within the air,” stated Zholia Parsi, one of many organisers of the march.

“They dispersed the women, tore our banners and confiscated the cell phones of many women.”

However protester Munisa Mubariz pledged to proceed preventing for ladies’s rights.

“If the Taliban need to silence this voice, it’s not attainable. We’ll protest from our houses,” she stated.

Some journalists protecting the demonstration – the primary ladies’s rally in months – have been additionally crushed by the Taliban fighters, an AFP correspondent noticed.

‘Making ladies invisible’

Whereas the Taliban authorities have allowed and even promoted some rallies in opposition to america, they’ve declined permission for any ladies’s rally since they returned to energy.

After seizing management final 12 months, the Taliban has gone again on its guarantees of girls’s rights and media freedom, bringing again reminiscences of its harsh rule from 1996 to 2001.

Tens of hundreds of ladies have been shut out of secondary schools, whereas ladies have been barred from returning to many authorities jobs.

Taliban fighters disperse Afghan women protesters in Kabul.
Taliban fighters attempt to disperse Afghan feminine protesters in Kabul [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

Ladies have additionally been banned from travelling alone on lengthy journeys and may solely go to public gardens and parks within the capital on designated days, when males will not be allowed.

In Could, the nation’s supreme chief and chief of the Taliban, Haibatullah Akhunzada, ordered ladies to fully cover themselves in public, together with their faces – ideally with an all-encompassing burqa.

The United Nations and rights teams have repeatedly slammed the Taliban authorities for imposing the restrictions on ladies.

These insurance policies present a “sample of absolute gender segregation and are aimed toward making ladies invisible within the society”, Richard Bennett, UN particular rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, instructed reporters in Kabul throughout a go to in Could.

Human Rights Watch on Thursday known as on the Taliban to “reverse their horrifying and misogynistic” choice to bar ladies from schooling.

“This might ship a message that the Taliban are prepared to rethink their most egregious actions,” Fereshta Abbasi, Afghanistan researcher on the rights group, stated in an announcement.

Some Afghan ladies initially pushed again in opposition to the curbs, holding small protests.

However the Taliban quickly rounded up the protest organisers, holding them incommunicado whereas denying they’d been detained.

A research by the Worldwide Labor Group (ILO) this 12 months documented a disproportionate drop in ladies’s employment in Afghanistan – 16 % within the months instantly following the Taliban takeover. In distinction, male employment dropped by 6 %.

Taliban fighters fire into the air to disperse Afghan women protesters in Kabul.
Taliban fighters hearth into the air [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

Previous to the Taliban takeover, ladies made up 22 % of the Afghan workforce. Whereas the determine was nonetheless dismal, it mirrored years of social progress in a deeply patriarchal and conservative society like Afghanistan.

Working ladies in Afghanistan are additionally weak to unemployment shocks because of the current financial disaster, restrictions on ladies’s motion by the Taliban, and the prevalent patriarchy.

Whereas the Afghan financial system has severely suffered because of the Western sanctions on the Taliban, women-centric companies have been among the many worst affected because of the extra restrictions on ladies.

A current World Financial institution survey famous that 42 % of women-owned companies in Afghanistan had briefly closed in contrast with the closure of 26 % of the corporations owned by males.

Moreover, about 83 % of the businesswomen indicated that they have been anticipating income losses over the following six months, forcing them to have interaction in coping mechanisms reminiscent of downsizing their employees, typically comprising largely of girls.

Journalism ‘bleeding to dying’

Quite a few media retailers have ceased their work and a whole lot of journalists have misplaced their jobs within the final one 12 months, in response to Reporters With out Borders (RSF).

“Journalism in Afghanistan is bleeding to dying,” RSF director Christian Mihr stated in an announcement on Friday.

“The Taliban have enacted quite a few legal guidelines that prohibit freedom of the press and encourage the persecution and intimidation of media and journalists,” she added.

In response to RSF, a superb third of 550 media retailers that had been energetic as of August 15, 2021 – the day the Taliban took over management once more after greater than 20 years – have been shut down.

Outrage as another Kashmiri journalist stopped from flying abroad | Freedom of the Press News

Yet one more Kashmiri journalist has been stopped by the Indian authorities from flying overseas as outrage grows over a continuing clampdown on press freedom in Indian-administered Kashmir and its residents.

Impartial journalist Aakash Hassan, 25, was on his solution to Sri Lanka for a reporting task final week when immigration officers at New Delhi airport barred him from boarding the flight, making him the fourth Kashmiri journalist in a couple of 12 months to face the motion.

“I obtained my boarding move and after I was on the immigration, I used to be instructed to attend on the facet,” Hassan instructed Al Jazeera.

“Then I used to be taken to a room and interrogated by two individuals who didn’t determine themselves. They requested me what sort of journalism I do. They requested about my background,” he mentioned.

Hassan mentioned the interrogation continued for 5 hours.

“My passport and boarding move had been stamped with ‘Stopped with out prejudice’ and my baggage was offloaded,” mentioned Hassan, who additionally shared photos of the stamping on Twitter.

The immigration officers, Hassan mentioned, didn’t present any justification for why he was stopped.

“They mentioned there was a lookout round issued on my title however they denied disclosing which company had issued it,” he mentioned.

A lookout round is issued by India’s regulation enforcement companies to cease a person – both absconding or needed – from leaving the nation. It’s principally used at immigration checkpoints at worldwide airports.

Kashmir Press Club building is pictured through a closed gate
The Kashmir Press Membership in Srinagar was sealed by Indian authorities earlier this 12 months [File: Dar Yasin/AP]

‘Focused for our work’

Hassan mentioned there is no such thing as a legal case towards him.

“The worst factor is I don’t know who I ought to method. That is going to take a psychological toll on me. We’re being focused for our work,” he instructed Al Jazeera.

“It will jeopardise my future.”

Kashmiri journalists say issuing of lookout circulars towards them and stopping them from worldwide journey is a brand new pattern.

Final month, Pulitzer Prize-winning Kashmiri photojournalist Sanna Irshad Mattoo was prevented from flying to Paris for a photograph exhibition.

“I used to be shocked and heartbroken,” the 28-year-old then instructed Al Jazeera, including that she, like Hassan, didn’t have a legal case towards her.

Mattoo, a contributor to the Reuters information company, was a part of a four-member workforce of photojournalists that received the Pulitzer final 12 months for his or her protection of the COVID-19 disaster in India.

Final 12 months, two different Kashmiri journalists – Zahid Rafiq and Ruwa Shah – had been barred from flying overseas.

In 2019, unbiased journalist Gowhar Geelani was stopped at New Delhi airport when he was on his solution to Germany to hitch a job.

There have been comparable examples from exterior Kashmir as effectively.

In April this 12 months, Aakar Patel, former head of Amnesty Worldwide in India, mentioned he was stopped from flying to the USA due to a legal case filed towards the rights physique. Authorities mentioned Patel was on a “lookout round” issued by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation.

Days earlier than that, distinguished Indian journalist Rana Ayyub was additionally stopped from boarding a flight to London the place she was scheduled to deal with a press occasion. She was allowed to fly 5 days later after she approached a courtroom of regulation.

Some Kashmiris allege their passports weren’t being renewed by the Indian authorities.

“The passport verification course of has been pending for greater than six months,” a 30-year-old Kashmiri journalist who didn’t wish to be recognized instructed Al Jazeera.

‘Systematic sample of harassment’

Kashmiri lecturers and journalists learning or working overseas say they concern visiting house over the danger of being barred from flying again.

“They [authorities] have used every kind of means to harass journalists, questioning them, harassing households, arrests and now stopping them from going out of India is a brand new problem,” Kashmiri journalist Ahmad who didn’t wish to be recognized by his first title instructed Al Jazeera.

“With every day, doing journalism in Kashmir is turning into not possible … Journalism in Kashmir is sort of lifeless,” he added.

Al Jazeera reached out to a number of authorities officers in Kashmir for his or her feedback on the problem. One official, talking on the situation of anonymity, justified the restrictions on Kashmiri journalists.

“It [the lookout circular] is being issued solely towards these people who peddle a sustained insidious narrative towards the [Indian] state. They [journalists] are a part of the ‘terror ecosystem’ and the state is inside its rights to problem lookout circulars towards such individuals,” he mentioned.

After India’s Hindu nationalist authorities stripped Kashmir of its restricted autonomy in 2019, the disputed area has witnessed a collection of crackdowns towards journalists and media organisations.

In January this 12 months, the Kashmir Press Club – the most important unbiased media physique within the area – was dissolved by the federal government. Kashmiri journalists complain of being routinely summoned to police stations and interrogated about their work.

Journalist Aasif Sultan in handcuffs on his way to judicial custody
Kashmiri journalist Aasif Sultan has been in jail for almost 4 years [File: Saqib Majeed/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images]

Some journalists have been booked under stringent laws, together with the Illegal Actions Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Public Safety Act (PSA), which permit lengthy detention of an individual with out trial.

India is ranked a hundred and fiftieth within the World Press Freedom Index 2022, down from 142 the earlier 12 months and presently under Hong Kong and Turkey.

“The journey bans are a part of a scientific sample of harassment towards Kashmiri journalists, who’ve more and more confronted arbitrary arrest, frivolous authorized circumstances, threats, bodily assaults, and raids since August 2019,” media watchdog the Committee to Defend Journalists (CPJ) tweeted final month.

Referring to Hassan’s case, CPJ mentioned, “International governments should deal with arbitrary journey restrictions on Kashmiri journalists as severe violations of human rights in any engagement with the Indian authorities.”

Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of Human Rights Watch, instructed Al Jazeera “arbitrary restrictions” on Kashmiri journalists travelling overseas had been “extraordinarily regarding” and violated their livelihood and freedom of motion.

Geeta Seshu, co-founder of the Free Speech Collective, an unbiased organisation that advocates press freedom in India, mentioned “persevering with harassment and intimidation” of Kashmiri journalists by stopping them from flying overseas “smacks of discrimination”.

“Additionally it is disturbing because it seeks to ship a message to unbiased journalists that their proper of free entry and mobility is incumbent on their obedience and acquiescence to the powers that be,” she instructed Al Jazeera.

“That is undemocratic and violates their basic proper to free expression. So many journalists from India have travelled to numerous hassle spots, together with Sri Lanka, with out being stopped or curbed in any means.”