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Full Statement of Hoda Khamosh, the representative of Afghan Women Protesters in Oslo

Hoda Khamosh, one of the women protesters against the Taliban in Kabul, in a speech at the Oslo Summit, urged the world to oblige the Taliban rule to respect human rights and accept women’s rights.

In her speech, she also called on the Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi to phone Kabul and order the release of the detained women protesters. Earlier, the Taliban said in a statement that they had not detained any women protesters.

The full statement:
“In the name of God of Freedom and Equality
My name is Hoda Khamosh, a woman among the millions of women of Afghanistan. Here, I do not represent any political group or faction. I lived under Taliban rule for five months and eight days in Kabul. I have come here at the invitation of the Norwegian government to spread the message of the women of Afghanistan who are protesting on the streets of Afghanistan against the repression and terror that the world is the number one responsible for. I made it alive here from the shadow of whips and bullets.
What I am saying here is the words of millions of Afghan citizens who are stuck in the midst of disaster and destruction. Millions of women are currently being subjected to gender apartheid by the Taliban. Women are systematically eliminated, denied, insulted, and humiliated.
After capturing Kabul, the Taliban created a factional, police regime through assassination and coercion, and by marginalizing and eliminating a large part of Afghanistan. Over the past five months, the Taliban have denied citizens basic rights; they have confined women inside the houses, deprived them of education; they have killed and tortured their opponents, mostly former members of the Afghan National Security Forces, and they have perpetuated systematic discrimination against other ethnic groups. The Taliban have also created their interrogative machinery of people’s beliefs and behaviors in the name of [Ministry for] Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

Now I turn your attention to a few of the many long lists of crimes and assassinations that have taken place over the last five months.

  1. Photojournalist Mr. Morteza Samadi was arrested and tortured by the Taliban on September 7, 2021, during a civil protest in Herat.
  2. Ms. Alia Azizi, the former head of the Herat Women’s Prison, has been missing for more than five months.
  3. Mr. Taqi Daryabi and Mr. Nematullah Naqdi, reporters for the daily Etilaatroz were arrested and severely tortured by the Taliban while covering the September 7, 2021 protests in Kabul.
  4. Dozens of young people demonstrated in Balkh on September 7 and 8 to demand their rights and freedoms. The Taliban arrested 70 protesters, including 40 protesting girls, and transferred them to an unknown location. They were tortured and some of them were raped. One week later, the bodies of eight detainees were found on the streets of the city [of Mazar]. Several detained women were assassinated after their release from prison. But the fate of the nine detained girls is still unknown and they are still missing.
  5. Last Wednesday, five of my comrades Ms. Tamana Zaryab Paryani, along with her three sisters Zarmina, Shafiqa, and Karima, and another civil activist, Ms. Parwana Ibrahimkhel, who were protesting Taliban policies, were arrested. This happened in the dark of night, after breaking down the gate of their house. They have been taken to an unknown place and their fate is unknown.
    I feel their pain from thousands of miles away with my bones and hear their cries under the Taliban torture. The question is: why are the Taliban imprisoning us in Kabul and now sitting here at the negotiating table with us in Oslo? What is the international community doing in the face of all this torture and repression? Suppression and assassination taking place before your eyes. By remaining silent or tolerating the Taliban, you are partly responsible for these crimes and repression committed against men and women of Afghanistan. I am going back to Afghanistan, but I do not know what awaits us. I ask the Norwegian foreign minister that how come she bypassed international law and invited those individuals who are on [international] sanctions list? Isn’t this an indirect recognition?

On behalf of the Afghan women protesters, I propose the following four items to restore some civil order in Afghanistan:

  1. Mr. Amir Khan Muttaqi must pick up his phone now and call Kabul. [He should] order the immediate release of Tamana Zaryab Pariani and her three sisters (Zarmina, Shafiqa, and Karima), Parwana Ebrahimkhel, Alia Azizi, and open the gates of all schools unconditionally.
    According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Conventions on Civil and Political Rights, every human being has the right to take part in the peaceful assembly against inhuman and anti-human rights laws. We, the protesting women, only demanded our rights with the slogan of “bread, work, and freedom.” However, the Taliban arrested, tortured, and humiliated us.
  2. Women of Afghanistan want equal rights. Until a new constitution is created, the second chapter of the previous constitution must be upheld to restore and recognize the fundamental rights of citizens. The Taliban and no other group have the authority to restrict our fundamental rights. Any kind of redefinition of rights and freedoms must be done through national dialogues and a collective consensus.
  3. An authoritative and independent Council should be established by the United Nations, consisting of the families of the victims, the victims, representatives of the people, and independent international human rights bodies. [The Council should] monitor and investigate the conduct and policies of the Taliban. The Council should investigate [the situation inside] Taliban prisons and immediately release prisoners of conscience based on political [beliefs] and gender. Next, the Council should address all the war crimes committed in the last twenty years.
  4. To restore political order and stability, Afghanistan needs a legitimate system based on the approval of all citizens. We need the agreement of political factions and different segments of the people on a roadmap for a political and democratic solution to the dilemma of Afghanistan. Traditional solutions, such as holding a Loya Jirga, cannot replace democratic ways of establishing political legitimacy.
    The new chapter of our struggle for Afghanistan, which respects the rights and equality of all citizens, especially women, began five months and eight days ago, and we have a long way to go. The international community should not close its eyes on us.
    In the hope of freedom and equality.
    Hoda Khamoush
    Oslo – Norway”

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