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Taliban release decree stating that women must consent to marriage

Women wearing burqas walk in a secondhand market where people sell their household goods and other belongings in Kabul
Women wearing burqas walk in a secondhand market, where people sell their home appliances and other belongings, in Kabul, Afghanistan October 9, 2021. REUTERS / Jorge Silva

December 3, 2021

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Afghanistan’s Taliban government on Friday released a decree on women’s rights, which says women are not considered “property” and must agree to marriage, but made no mention of it. women’s access to education or work outside the home.

The Taliban have come under pressure from the international community, who have mostly frozen funds for Afghanistan, to commit to protecting women’s rights since the hard-line Islamist group took over the country on May 15. /8.

“A woman is not a property, but a noble and free person; No one can give her to anyone in exchange for peace… or an end to hatred,” the Taliban decree issued by spokesman Zabihillah Muhajid said.

It lays out rules governing marriage and property for women, stating that women should not be forced into marriage and that widows should have their deceased husband’s property divided.

Courts should take the rules into account when making decisions, and religious affairs and information ministries should promote these rights, the decree said.

However, it does not address women’s ability to work or access institutions outside of the home or education, major concerns from the international community.

During its previous rule from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban banned women from leaving their homes without male relatives, covered their faces and heads, and left girls uneducated.

The Taliban say they have changed and high schools for girls in some provinces have been allowed to open. But many women and rights advocates remain skeptical.

The international community, which has frozen billions of dollars in central bank funds and development spending, has made women’s rights a key element of any future commitment to Afghanistan.

The country, which is also suffering from a bank liquidity crisis as cash flows dry up due to sanctions, is facing the risk of economic collapse since the Taliban came to power.

(Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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DUSTIN JONES

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