Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday August 18, 2022
Canada pledged to resettle 40,000 Afghan refugees, yet only 17,000 have made it
As anniversaries go, it’s not a happy one.
One year ago this week, the Canadian government announced it had suspended operations at its embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. And one year ago this week, President Joe Biden confirmed the U.S. would complete its withdrawal from the country.
Two weeks later, the last American soldier left Afghanistan, and the Taliban takeover was complete. Despite assurances from the Taliban that the rights of all Afghans, including women and children, would be protected, citizens have experienced a dramatic decline in their rights, freedoms and quality of life.
According to a report from the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan, human rights violations have escalated rapidly under the Taliban. Journalists, protesters and civil society activists have been arrested, and the report documents 160 extrajudicial killings, 56 cases of torture and 217 instances of cruel and inhumane punishments.
Perhaps the most visible curtailment of human rights involves those who are now, once again, invisible: Women and girls. Under Taliban rule, women and girls “have progressively had their rights to fully participate in education, the workplace and other aspects of public and daily life restricted and in many cases completely taken away.”
Heather Barr, associate director of the Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, recently said on CTV National News: “Women have had all of their rights stripped away from them, and girls as well.”