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UN calls for increased efforts to stamp out violence against women

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(Last Updated On: November 25, 2020)

The United Nations has called on all Afghans to increase efforts to prevent violence against women and that the violence has negative consequences not only for survivors, but also for their families, communities, and society.

Marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW), the UN called on Afghans “to increase efforts to prevent and redress violence against women and girls, particularly in the context of the outbreak of COVID-19.”

This comes on the heels of the Afghan Women’s Affairs Ministry’s announcement that violence against women has increased in the country in the past year.

Speaking at the launch of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, officials said 2,582 cases of violence against women have been recorded in the past six months.

According to the ministry, the cases of violence against women included forced marriage, rape, and murder.

The 16-day campaign, launched on Wednesday will through to December 10 – International Human Rights Day.

The EU meanwhile stated in a tweet: “We, the EU and its member states stand against Gender-Based Violence.”

They called for every girl and woman to live free from violence, oppression and discrimination. “Join our voices to put an end to violence against girls and women,” the EU said.

Meanwhile, the United Nations stated that this year’s EVAW theme – “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!” – is focused on accelerating concrete policy responses to gender-based violence in the context of COVID-19 and promoting zero tolerance of gender-based violence across all spheres of society.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated key risk factors for violence against women and girls, such as food shortages, unemployment, economic insecurity, and school closures,” a statement read.

“Worldwide, there has been an alarming increase in multiple forms of violence against women and girls, and information indicates that Afghanistan is no exception.”

The statement pointed out that the consequences of violence against women and girls – including physical, sexual, and psychological impacts – could prevent them from fully participating in society.

“Violence against women and girls has negative consequences not only for survivors, but also for their families, communities, and society. It is an impediment to the eradication of poverty, sustainable development, and efforts towards peace,” said Deborah Lyons, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Head of UNAMA.

“In Afghanistan, violence against women and girls jeopardizes their enjoyment of fundamental human rights and freedoms at one of the most critical times in the modern history of the country”, stated Lyons.

“For millions around the world, the home became a safe space to protect us from a deadly virus. But for too many women and girls, the home became the place where they found themselves trapped with their abusers”, said Aleta Miller, UN Women Representative in Afghanistan.

“Our daily engagement with Afghan women across the country from the beginning of the pandemic flagged an alarming rise in the levels of violence against women and girls. Our data on the gender-differentiated impact of COVID-19 also matched this.”

“As it is an unprecedented time for Afghanistan, our solidarity with Afghan women and commitment to promoting and protecting their human rights must be equally unprecedented,” the UN noted.

The UN said that it is working with the Government, civil society, non-governmental organizations, and development partners in Afghanistan to respond to all forms of violence against women and girls through direct support to service providers, social norms programs to prevent violence, and campaigns and advocacy.

“During the 16 Days Campaign, the Afghan government, supported by the UN, is intensifying its advocacy and awareness-raising activities to address violence against women and girls,” the organization stated.

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Two police personnel killed in targeted explosion in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: January 16, 2021)

At least two Afghan National Police (ANP) personnel were killed in an early morning IED explosion in Kabul on Saturday. 

According to police the explosion happened in PD3 in Dehbore square area of Kabul. 

Police said a Land Cruiser, belonging to Kabul Police Headquarters, had been targeted in the IED explosion. 

One other ANP member was wounded in the explosion. 

So far no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

This comes after a marked increase in targeted killings across the country – specifically against public figures, government workers, journalists and civil society members.

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12 local police killed in Taliban attack in Herat

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(Last Updated On: January 16, 2021)

At least 12 members of Afghan local police were killed in an attack by Taliban “infiltrators” in Herat province, local officials confirmed Saturday.

Herat police spokesman Abdul Ahad Walidaza said the incident occurred on Friday night in Ghorian district.

According to Walizada a delegation has arrived in the area to investigate the incident.

So far the Taliban has not commented.

Earlier sources in Herat province said three Taliban infiltrators killed at least 12 members of the local uprising forces, took their weapons, ammunition and fled the area.

Sources added that Taliban infiltrators had joined the force three nights ago.

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Parliament rejects draft budget for second time

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(Last Updated On: January 16, 2021)

Members of the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) have rejected the proposed budget for the new fiscal year 1400 for the second time.

MPs said the second draft budget is also unbalanced and still does not address the issue of equal pay for government employees.

MPs said they will not approve the budget until the money has been allocated appropriately and that demands of the parliament regarding the equalizing of salaries are taken into account.

They said that the government also added two more articles to the draft budget which were not acceptable to them. 

MPs first rejected the draft budget on December 30 citing “serious problems” which they said hinged on the disproportionate allocation of money to projects and emergency codes. 

The draft budget was approved by the cabinet in November following adjustments in the Public Finance and Expenditure Management Regulation, a draft plan of hydrocarbons regulation; draft statute of Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (the Afghan power company); and the draft law on cadastre.

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