Physicians for Human Rights has just released a comprehensive report documenting women’s health and human rights in Afghanistan The group planned to release the report even before the September 11 attacks happened, but say the escalated situation in Afghanistan make their findings even more essential. The report finds that Taliban regime’s restrictions on women’s human rights represent some of the most deliberate forms of discrimination against women in recent history. They have compounded profound suffering due to more than 20 years of war, extreme poverty, periodic drought, lack of infrastructure and economic stagnation in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world with one of the highest infant, child, and maternalmortality rates of all countries. The life expectancy of women is 44 years. Only 17% of people in rural areas haveaccess to safe drinking water, and 38% of people in urban areas. Women in the Taliban-controlled areas surveyed byPHR almost unanimously expressed that the Taliban had made their lives “much worse”. These women reported worsephysical and mental health, including extremely high rates of major depression and suicide, compared to women livingin non-Taliban-controlled areas.
- Susannah Sirkin, deputy director, Physicians for Human Rights.