As the Taliban continue to crack down on the rights of Afghan women, one of the country’s female para-athletes released a video calling on the international community to help them.
In his message, Benafsha Najafi also calls for help to evacuate vulnerable people and for economic support to the country.
In the video shared with The National, the athlete said she was speaking on behalf of Paralympic athletes in Afghanistan.
Since the Taliban took control in August, her life and that of her fellow athletes have “completely changed,” said Ms. Najafi.
“Our entire lives perished in the blink of an eye. We are no longer allowed to work, which is against an individual’s human rights.
“We can no longer go to university with peace of mind. In addition, the Taliban do not give us our rights to exercise and practice our sports, ”Ms. Najafi said.
She said the extremist regime banned her and her teammates simply because they were women.
“For these reasons, the Taliban banned us from sport.
“They are hardliners and because of their fanatical interpretation of Islam, they are of no value to women,” Ms. Najafi said.
The athlete said she had moved to another location due to security concerns and feared for her future.
The Afghan team leader at the recent Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games said The National that he was in contact with a dozen Paralympic athletes – many of whom are women – seeking to leave the country.
Arian Sadiqi also called on the international community to help him, saying he saw no future for para-athletes in Afghanistan.
Para-athletes are especially important in Afghanistan, as four decades of war have left the country with one of the largest per capita populations of people with disabilities in the world.
Common disabilities include amputations, vision or hearing problems, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
In May 2020, development organization The Asia Foundation discovered that in Afghanistan, 80% of adults live with some form of disability. This included almost 14 percent of people with severe disabilities.
In addition, over 17% of children are disabled.
Discrimination against people with disabilities predates Taliban takeover
Before the Taliban took power, women with disabilities already faced extreme barriers to being included in society.
Non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch reported that Afghan women and girls with disabilities face rooted discrimination and sexual harassment in accessing assistance, education, employment and care. health.
On Thursday, Human Rights Watch released a report detailing how women’s rights have been disrupted since the Taliban takeover in mid-August.
It seems unlikely that the situation will improve for female athletes.
Ahmadullah Wasiq, deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, told Australian broadcaster SBS in early September that women’s sport was neither considered appropriate nor necessary, speaking specifically of the women’s cricket team.
“I don’t think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary for women to play cricket,” Mr Wasiq said.
“In cricket, they might be faced with a situation where their face and body won’t be covered. “
Updated: September 24, 2021, 6:43 PM