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Afghans want end to militia-imposed 'sexual apartheid,' official tells UN rights panel

Afghans want end to militia-imposed 'sexual apartheid,' official tells UN rights panel

Addressing a United Nations human rights panel in Geneva, a representative of the Government of Afghanistan today called for an end to the "sexual apartheid" which he said had been imposed by militias in the country.

Humayum Tander told the UN Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights that his country's legitimate Government was currently beset by insurgencies funded by a foreign State which supplied support and an army of fanatical volunteers. These militia fanatics were "profoundly" defying women's rights.

He said the culture they were imposing was not genuine Afghan culture, which supported the rights of women. In the past, Afghanistan had had female government ministers and elected officials, while women worked as university professors and schoolteachers. The explanations offered by the fanatical militias for their current treatment of women were distorting the true picture of Afghan history and culture, he added.

Mr. Tander called on the Subcommission to consider these conditions in its draft resolution on Afghanistan, pointing out that the country's people wanted an end to the abhorrent sexual apartheid currently being inflicted on the country.

The Afghan representative's comments came as the Subcommission wrapped up its annual general debate today. The panel will consider several draft resolutions and decisions concerning economic, social and cultural rights, prevention of discrimination and other human rights issues before the conclusion of its current session on Friday.