A Crime Against Humanity | The Ongoing Repression of Women in Taliban-Controlled Afghanistan

In lands where women’s voices fade,
A tyranny of terror is laid,
Apartheid’s shadow, hearts betrayed,
Justice, compassion, all delayed.
Cry out for rights, for freedom’s song,
For women’s strength, unyielding, strong,
In faith and hope, we can’t go wrong,
Stand up, unite, where we belong.


The systematic brutalisation of women and girls since the Taliban regained power in 2021 is a glaring atrocity that resonates with the essence of injustice. This is not merely a political issue; it is a crime against humanity, a vicious assault on the dignity of human life.

The Systematic Brutalisation of Women and Girls

The alarming state of affairs in Afghanistan, marked by the Taliban’s atrocious treatment of women and girls since regaining power in 2021, is a manifestation of a grave injustice that cannot be ignored or minimized. This systematic brutalisation is not merely an act of political oppression; it is a deliberate and targeted assault on the very core of human dignity and the values that underpin our shared humanity. The level of brutality and the extent of the abuses committed against women and girls are beyond comprehension. From their wholesale exclusion from educational opportunities and the workforce to their complete alienation from participating in public life, the Taliban’s regime is a stark symbol of tyranny, violence, and suppression. Such acts are not just a violation of international law; they stand in stark opposition to the principles of equality, dignity, and freedom that are central to Christian Liberation Theology and the broader human rights framework. We must view this situation not simply as a political challenge but as a crime against humanity, demanding immediate and decisive action. The world must not remain passive or indifferent to this unspeakable injustice; it must rise to the occasion with unflinching determination and a relentless commitment to defending the rights and dignity of those who are suffering under this brutal regime.

Gender Apartheid: A Heinous Abuse of Human Rights

The situation has reached such a dire state that Gordon Brown, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the UN’s special envoy for global education, has publicly described it as a form of “gender apartheid.” This term captures the horrifying reality of a system that has systematically excluded women and girls from education, from employment, from even visiting public places. It’s not just a few isolated incidents; it is “probably the most heinous, most vicious, most comprehensive abuse of human rights in place around the world today.” These powerful words reverberate with the essential teachings of Christian Liberation Theology, which emphasizes human rights, social justice, and the liberation of oppressed peoples from all forms of tyranny. Mr. Brown’s voice adds a critical perspective to the global conversation about this issue, reflecting his experience and insight as a global leader. But more than that, his comments shine a light on an appalling system of abuse that goes far beyond mere political repression. It is a system that denies women and girls their fundamental human rights, subjecting them to a relentless, insidious form of oppression that is both ruthless and total in its scope, reminiscent of the darkest chapters of apartheid’s history. We cannot afford to minimize or dismiss this situation; it represents a clear and present danger to the very principles that define our humanity.

The Cry for Justice: A Call to the International Criminal Court

The severity of this situation demands a response from the highest levels of international justice. It is time for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to intervene, to investigate and prosecute those responsible for these abhorrent human rights abuses. The call to justice is not merely a matter of legal responsibility; it is a moral imperative that resonates deeply with the foundational principles of Christian Liberation Theology. We must seek justice, not only as a legal duty but as a profound moral obligation to protect and preserve the inherent dignity of every human being, regardless of their gender, race, or religion. The ICC must rise to the occasion, recognizing the gravity of these crimes and taking decisive action to hold the perpetrators accountable. But this is more than just a legal challenge; it is a call to the very core of our shared humanity, a cry from the depths of human suffering that demands an immediate and uncompromising response. The international community must rally behind this cause, embracing a collective responsibility to seek justice, to stand up for the oppressed, and to affirm the unbreakable bond of human solidarity that binds us all together.

Shocking Silence: The Lack of International Pressure

Perhaps what is equally alarming, if not more so, is the shocking lack of international pressure being exerted on the Taliban regime. The astonishment expressed by Mr. Brown at the absence of a global outcry resonates with all who hold dear the principles of justice, human rights, and compassion. It is not enough to merely condemn the actions of the Taliban; we, as a global community, must come together to exert tangible and sustained pressure on the regime. The call for UK sanctions and the urgent appeal to leaders and clerics from Muslim-majority countries to stand up for the values of women and girls within the Islamic faith are important steps in the right direction. But we must recognize that the current efforts are woefully insufficient. This shocking silence and apparent indifference on the international stage is a betrayal of the very principles that define us as a human family. We must be relentless in our pursuit of justice, unwavering in our commitment to human rights, and unyielding in our demand for accountability. The stakes are too high, and the cost of inaction is too great. We must rally around a common cause, uniting our voices and our efforts to ensure that the principles that affirm the dignity, value, and equality of all human beings are not just words on paper but living realities that guide our actions and shape our world.

Living in Prison-Like Conditions: A Plea from the Women of Afghanistan

The voice of the women and girls suffering under this brutal regime must be heard. The situation on the ground is heart-wrenching, with women reporting that they feel “invisible, isolated, suffocated, living in prison-like conditions.” These are not just words; they are the lived experiences of real human beings, trapped in a nightmare of oppression, fear, and despair. The banning of girls from attending secondary school, the exclusion of women from universities, the imposition of strict dress codes, and other repressive measures only add to the urgency of this crisis. As followers of Christ and believers in the teachings of Christian Liberation Theology, we must recognize the dignity, worth, and humanity of our sisters in Afghanistan and join them in their fight for freedom, equality, and justice. Their pain, suffering, and despair are not abstract concepts or distant tragedies; they are real, palpable experiences that cry out for our attention, our compassion, and our action. These voices, stifled and silenced by a regime that cares nothing for their rights or their lives, reach out to us with a desperate plea for help, a heartrending cry for justice, a soul-stirring call to our shared humanity. We must answer this call with unwavering resolve, unyielding compassion, and an unbreakable commitment to the principles of justice, liberation, and human solidarity.

A Humanitarian and Human Rights Nightmare: The Call to Action

The recent statement by Fereshta Abbasi, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, calling on Taliban leaders to “urgently reject their abusive rules and policies” is a clarion call that resonates with the heart of Christian Liberation Theology. Our faith compels us to act, to stand up for justice, and to fight for the liberation of all those oppressed by tyranny and violence. The situation in Afghanistan is not just a humanitarian crisis; it is a human rights nightmare. It is not an isolated event but a horrifying manifestation of a systemic failure to protect and preserve the dignity and worth of human beings. The current state of affairs is not just a political problem; it is a moral crisis that demands a comprehensive, compassionate, and unrelenting response. We must recognize the interconnectedness

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About Rev Lloyd Hobbard-Mitchell

Rev. Lloyd Hobbard-Mitchell, an Englishman deeply connected to Thailand, was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood on 28th May 2023.

In addition to his religious journey, he has worked as an online English teacher and pursued a career as an artist. He has also operated a tour desk business with his wife within international brand hotels.

Lloyd has extensive experience in the voluntary sector, specifically in addressing homelessness and social welfare.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and embraces opportunities to meet new people, see new places, explore cultural similarities, and celebrate differences.