Vyas, Ravi Prakash
Global Campus Human Rights
This volume of the Global Campus journal contains a collection of articles written during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first section is a collection of articles which explore the situation of human rights in the second year of the pandemic from four regional perspectives: Europe, Africa, the Asia-Pacific, and Southeast Europe. The second section of this journal contains articles from two Afghan refugees who are part of the Global Campus and have direct experience of conducting academic work in a crisis. After the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in mid-2021, many academics, civil society workers, and people working with North American and Western European development organizations were faced with a difficult decision whether to remain in Afghanistan and face threats and intimidation, or to seek asylum. For some the only choice was to leave because the work they do is not tolerated under the Taliban. This is the case of the two Afghan researchers whose work is published here. The two articles highlight the increase in violations under the Taliban rule, and give an understanding of how the Taliban could seize power. The fears of the suppression of women’s rights proved true as Hussain Rezai’s article demonstrates. The Taliban’s deeply held anachronistic views of gender are matched with ethnocentric attitudes which marginalises the non-Pashtun tribes from political positions. As Ali Ahmadi explains, Afghanistan is a country of great ethnic diversity, but one in which this diversity has not always been recognised. However, a federal system gives the possibility for the diversity to be represented, but this is impossible under the current centralised control of the Taliban. As an overview of human rights in the early 2020s, the articles in this journal are evidence that there are wide ranging problems for human rights. While we must wait to see if the promotion and protection of rights improves in the post-pandemic period, for people from Afghanistan and other countries in conflict, there is little hope in the immediate future of a return to peace and stability.