What are some of the human rights issues that are portrayed in The Kite Runner?

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The Kite Runner addresses several human rights issues in the context of modern Afghanistan.

Human rights become an important topic in the latter half of the novel when Amir returns to Afghanistan after the Taliban ascend to power. Amir must confront the orphanage director on his search for Sohrab, Hassan's...

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The Kite Runner addresses several human rights issues in the context of modern Afghanistan.

Human rights become an important topic in the latter half of the novel when Amir returns to Afghanistan after the Taliban ascend to power. Amir must confront the orphanage director on his search for Sohrab, Hassan's son, who tells Amir that he has made the impossible choice to sacrifice one child to an abusive Talib in exchange for food for the remaining orphans. This scene highlights the loss of children's human rights and protections that were laid out in the United Nations' Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

In another scene, Amir returns to the soccer stadium of his childhood and witnesses a gruesome halftime show in which an allegedly adulterous couple are stoned to death as a form of "justice." This spectacle raises questions about the legal rights of the two "criminals": did the man and woman receive due process of law before they were convicted of adultery? Obviously, this scene also forces us to question the appropriateness of a punishment for such a crime. The public stoning in The Kite Runner confronts the human rights of dignity, freedom of life, and freedom from cruel punishment that were clearly ignored in this scene.

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Ethnic discrimination is a human rights issue that is prominent throughout the novel and is depicted by the unfair treatment of Hazaras at the hands of their Pashtun oppressors. In Afghanistan, ethnic Hazaras are marginalized and discriminated against by the majority Sunni Pashtuns, which is illustrated by Ali, Hassan, and Sohrab's unfortunate and oppressed lives in Kabul. All three characters lack opportunities and occupy the lowest caste in Afghan society.

Citizens of Kabul suffer under the oppressive, violent Taliban regime. Gender inequality is an issue under Taliban rule, as woman are forced to wear burqas and have few individual rights. Taliban officials forcefully take citizens' property, and men are required to grow beards in accordance with Sharia law. Public executions are held on a regular basis, and defenseless minors like Sohrab suffer from sexual molestation. Child trafficking is another human rights issue portrayed in the novel, as well as abject poverty.

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There are many forms of discrimination and human rights issues to be found in Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner. In the latter stages of the novel, the atrocities and repression by the Taliban take precedence over all others. Summary executions can be found during the halftime of the soccer match, and women become a target for seemingly minor transgressions (at least to Westerners). All women are forced to wear a berka, and they have social and travel restrictions placed upon them. Public beatings are common for violations. The ethnic Hazara group is a prime target, and Hassan and his wife are both executed for refusing to vacate Baba's home; and Assef turns Hassan's son, Sohrab, into a sexual play toy. Men are expected to grow beards and lower their eyes when the Taliban pass, and starvation and homelessness becomes rampant.

Even before Baba and Amir leave for California, the discrimination by the Pashtun majority against the Hazaras is visible (with Assef's hatred and sodomy of Hassan being the most glaring example). The Russian presence also brought discriminatory action, particularly to the wealthy and educated. Afghan men still repress their women in America as well, evidenced by General Taheri's subjugation of his wife and daughter.

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