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Violence against women peaked in 2016: AIHRC

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Violence against Afghan women hits top level in the year 2016 which the main reason is the rule of law, said Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC).

“Unfortunately, the sharp rise in violence against women in Afghanistan indicates a humanitarian crisis and human crimes. One of the main reasons for increase of these violence is government negligence in addressing the cases. The current situation is alarming for us,” said Latifa Sultani, responsible for women and children sector in HRC.

Lobbying for women’s rights have been an uphill battle in Afghanistan. After years of pressure from Afghan women’s rights activists and the international donor community, few improvements have materialized.

Despite widespread abuse and violence against women, few men are punished. The prosecution and conviction rates for rape are low, the prosecution and conviction rates for beating, virtually non-existent.

In the other hand, worryingly, in the majority of cases outside the courts, the survivor and the perpetrator reconciled and the victim was reintegrated back into the family.

In other words, Afghanistan’s informal justice system is asking women to “forget the past” in an effort to preserve families and maintain social cohesion, rather than seeking to punish the abuser.

Last year, on March 19, a mob of men beat a 27-year-old woman named Farkhunda to death, threw her body off a roof, ran over it with a car, set it on fire and at the end, threw it into the Kabul River.

The attack was captured by mobile phone cameras and was widely shared on social media. The woman had been falsely accused of burning the Koran.

Her death led to massive protests across the country, 26 arrests and renewed calls for authorities to ensure that women are protected from violence in Afghanistan.

In another report, three weeks ago, an Afghan man scalded his pregnant wife with petrol in Saghar district of Ghor province.

The 13 –year old girl, named Zahra was married at the age of 11 and five days after the husband sets wife on fire, she died in Istiqlal hospital of the capital, Kabul.

The history of Zahra starts when her mother became paralyzed and her father married for the second time.

Zahra’s father says that the family of his second wife force them to marry Zahra.

The family of Zahra claims that their daughter has been beaten since the beginning of her marriage; even, she was once injured by a knife.

But the recent report about violence against women is a 6-year-old girl in Ghor province of Afghanistan was reportedly sold in marriage to a Muslim cleric in his 50s or 60s.

The 60-year-old Muslim priest claimed the child was a “religious offering” and sent to him as a “gift”.

The man claimed the child bride’s parents were aware of the marriage, but the child’s parents claim their daughter was kidnapped from Herat province in June.

The incident, which came after several widely publicized cases of young brides being burned or stoned, highlights the enduring tribal practices of child marriage in Afghanistan.

Violence against women is endemic; girls attend school for less than half the number of years of Afghan boys, and one in every thirty-two women die from pregnancy-related causes.

Afghan women continue to experience poor health, limited economic opportunities, lack of education, an absence in participation in public life and all forms of violence.

The four decades of prolonged armed conflict across the country has contributed to significant levels of instability, insecurity, violence, rule of law challenges, and poverty and underdevelopment, which have obstructed the effective realization and enjoyment of human rights for people of Afghanistan.

The international community and the Afghan government should act to protect women rights at times when Afghanistan is going through crucial times.

Meanwhile, the problem of violence against women cannot be addressed until the parliament approves the law on elimination of violence against women.

 

Edited by Muhammad Zakaria

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