Statement on Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan.
Dr. Massouda Jalal, (pictured) Founding President of Jalal Foundation & Former Minister of.Women of Afghanistan
Jalal Foundation with its member’s of the civil society organizations, scholars, intellectuals, influential and elite people strongly condemn all forms of violence against women and ask for justice to be done against horrific crimes against women. We ask for justice for Sitara whose arms and hands were broken, knocked semi-unconscious and stabbed in the head with a knife by her husband. Still not satisfied, he cut off her nose and upper lip and threw them to the floor, leaving a triangle-shaped hole in her face. This act is against human dignity; the perpetrator must be arrested and charged. It can’t be an excuse that the perpetrator has run away, police must take this seriously, investigate the case and capture the culprit. It is a disgrace to the country if the police force does not have the ability to capture criminals.
We women rights movements are extremely disappointed with the increased number of cases of violence against women in 2013 which has risen by 24.7% compared with last year; a staggering increase of incidents of violence against women. The judgment against Chaman Gul’s case, where she was raped by a group of local police two years back is extremely shocking. The following are a few cases reported which have failed to obtain justice:
Ø Two women were found hanged in Logar province,
Ø Two women were killed over a family dispute in Faryab province by their sons,
Ø A father-in-law killed his daughter-in-law and two grandsons (aged 8 and 10) in Ghazni,
Ø 17 years old Shakila was shot in the face by her husband in Kabul
Ø Shooting of a boy and a girl in Baghlan,
Ø Through informal justice, a mother attacked and killed by her son with a knife in Herat.
In spite of all the gains and efforts made towards promoting women’s rights in Afghanistan, social and legal protection of women is deteriorating, which raises concerns over the roles, responsibilities and commitments of the Afghan government.
It is a pity that severe violence against women occurs in provinces which are under government control. These violent cases are not investigated seriously in a transparent process by the law enforcement agencies at both a national and local level.
The dreadful incidents of violence against women remain only in news headlines.
We call on the Afghan Civil Society and Communities to closely monitor the cases of violence against women from investigation to judgment at a national and local level. We ask the Afghan Civil Society and Communities to play an active role in coordinating and sharing timely and accurate information regarding violence against women with relevant stakeholders.
We call on the International Community to consider the urgency of their support in terms of ending violence against women in Afghanistan. We ask on practical measures to implement commitments made under Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework towards ending violence against women. We ask the international community for provision of special funding to support the severe case of violence against women.
We call on Afghan government to prove their commitments towards law enforcement agencies to investigate and follow up on the recent cases of violence against women immediately and conduct public trials in order to prosecute the perpetrators and their supporters. The government has to increase the accountability of its law enforcement and judiciary. We also urge the Afghan government to provide immediate life-saving support to victims of violence against women across the country.
We criticize the government’s failure to prosecute the perpetrators as well as religious clerks for their total silence in the face of increasing violence towards women. These clerks waste no time when it comes to proposing restrictions on women’s rights and freedom to work and travel and rarely use their perch to promote human rights for women. In a country where the religious Ulema Council considers women second class citizens, it’s not surprising that men feel they can commit these crimes without any fear of prosecution. The Afghan government should pay serious attention to these cases and not observe silence. It is the job of the government to act upon the nations concerns; man or woman. We want to avoid a repeat of the case of Sahar Gul a child bride whose brutal torture shocked Afghanistan. Just months later, her tormentors were set free by the very lawmakers who had promised her justice.
Parliament has failed to use legislation in eliminating violence against women (which was enforced by a Presidential Decree). There is also a lack of access to education in Afghanistan for women, it is known that 90% of women are illiterate and there is also a lack of healthcare. In order to tackle the problems the government needs to look at the following:
Ø Annul all discriminatory laws against women, in particular the Marriage Law, the discriminatory provisions of the Penal Law and the Property Law, the discriminatory traditional laws and the Law of Personal Status of the Shiite;
Ø Take measures to put an end resort to mobile informal courts and guarantee women’s full and effective access to the formal justice system;
Ø Enhance the implementation of the Law for Elimination of Violence against Women, in coordination with the Prosecutor-General’s Office throughout the country;
Ø Continue to improve women’s access to social rights, e.g. health and education, and combat illiteracy among women nationwide;
Ø Always extensively consult the civil society organizations to draft government reports to the UN committees, in particular the Committee for Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), to implement their concluding observations and the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women.
Ø Afghan government should eliminate all sorts of violence, force, pressure and discrimination against women and we urge the International community to provide full cooperation and support to end Violence against Women in Afghanistan.