AFGHANISTAN: Women's Rights Face Danger in Afghanistan

Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Khaama News
Southern Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Human Rights

Human rights situation in Afghanistan has lost ground in key areas during first six month of 2014, increasing uncertainty about the country's future, especially after the international troops pull out by the end of this year. The deadline for the withdrawal of NATO and US forces and continued debate over the presence of US troops beyond 2014 have negatively affected the Afghan government's policies on human rights in the country.

Women's rights in Afghanistan has gradually improved in the last decade under the Karzai administration but still needs greater attention by the international community.

Through different rulers such as the Mujahedeen and the Taliban in the later part of the 20th century, women have struggled to gain freedoms and reform a society that is primarily male dominant. Even today, violence against women in Afghanistan is high although the situation is improving as the country slowly progresses.

A general investigation by an Afghan human rights network found that the Afghan government which is strongly influenced by tribal and religious leaders had made a series of decisions in 2013 and 2014 that undermined human rights, particularly those of women and girls.

“There was continued instability and declining respect for human rights in the country over the past year. This was reflected in attacks on women's rights,” a senior investigator of that investigation said.

“Impunity for the human rights abuses was the norm for government security forces and other armed groups.”
Taliban insurgents continued their campaign of targeted assassinations of those women working in government, NGOs and other aid organization during the year.

Now Afghan women are all too aware that international donors are walking away from Afghanistan unfortunately, those who want to curtail women's rights realize this too.

Recently the ministry of Justice added a provision to the criminal justice code banning testimony from family members, making it difficult to prosecute for domestic abuse and in cases of child marriage or other forms of forced marriage.

The investigation found that opponents of women's rights took advantage of waning international interest in Afghanistan to begin rolling back the progress made since the end of Taliban rule in 2001.

A string of physical assaults in 2014 against high-profile women, including murders, highlighted the danger to activists and women in public life.

On day of June 27, an independent election commission high ranking female member was targeted as she was on her way to home in capital Kabul; while she survived her security man was killed.

Early in the year, a female member of afghan police force in Kandahar province was shot and killed on her way to work.
The severity of Afghanistan's human rights crisis in 2014 demands urgent action by both the government and the country's foreign donors.

The failure to make human rights a priority during this year, and the backlash resulting from diminished international attention and support, threaten much of the progress that has been achieved.