News / Asia

    UN: Afghan Women Better Off, but Abuse Lingers

    Women walk in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012. The UN says the number of reported violent attacks against Afghan women has more than doubled in a year.
    Women walk in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012. The UN says the number of reported violent attacks against Afghan women has more than doubled in a year.
    Ayaz Gul
    Conflict-torn Afghanistan has made progress in protecting women against violence but many still suffer abuse, according to a new United Nations report.

    The U.N. calls on Afghan authorities to take "much greater steps" to address the problem effectively. The report comes a day after a provincial women's affairs official was gunned down on her way to work.

    In the report, released Tuesday in Kabul, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reveals the number of reported violent attacks against women in Afghanistan has more than doubled in a year.

    According to the U.N. mission's human rights director, Georgette Gagnon, Afghan prosecutors and courts are now registering more cases of violence against women and convicting more perpetrators of such crimes.

    "This increase in reporting is an encouraging sign that efforts of civil society, the government, international actors and the media have increased public awareness and sensitization to violence against women and its harmful and criminal consequences," Gagnon says.

    But she adds incidents of violence against women in Afghanistan still remain largely underreported due to cultural constraints, social norms and customary practices. She also notes that "prevailing insecurity and a weak rule of law" have hampered women's access to formal justice institutions.

    "Those incidents that reach law enforcement that actually get to the court or receive public attention due to their egregious nature represent only the tip of the iceberg of incidents of violence against women through out the country," Gagnon says.

    The U.N. diplomat is demanding that the Afghan government enforce a law designed to prevent violence against women. She insisted that progress in addressing the issue will be limited until the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women, or EVAW, is applied more widely.

    "Although prosecutors and courts were increasingly applying the law in a growing number of reported incidents of violence against women, the overall use of the law remained low," Gagnon says, "indicating there is still a long way to go for women and girls in Afghanistan to be protected from violence through this law."

    Enacted in August 2009, the Afghan legislation criminalizes and specifies punishments for acts such as child marriage, forced marriage, selling and buying women under the pretext of marriage, giving away a woman or girl to settle a dispute, forced self-immolation, rape and beating.

    Lack of knowledge among ordinary people about the law and their rights in general, as well as insecurity in parts of the country, are hampering implementation of the law.

    "Because a lot of people, they don’t know about the law. And women especially don’t know about the law and how to use this law for [the] benefit of the women," says Gulalai Noor Safi, an Afghan lawmaker. "And the other thing is, in the insecure places there is [the] local and traditional judicial system. It is very difficult to implement it. For the implementation of each law, we need peace, security and, of course, rule of law."

    While the Afghan lawmaker feels her country still has a long way to go in addressing issues like violence against women, she says the picture is not as bleak as it was 11 years ago, when the Taliban were in power. She says Afghan girls now have the right to education, while women sit in the national parliament and are allowed to work outside their homes without any restrictions.

    Before the U.S.-led coalition invaded Afghanistan and removed the Taliban from power in late 2001, the Islamists barred women from working and girls from seeking education.

    You May Like

    Video Twists and Turns Aplenty in US Presidential Race

    Even as Americans pause for this week’s Memorial Day holiday, much attention is focused on the presidential contest

    Iran Orders Social Media Sites to Store Data Inside Country

    New requirements are expected to affect the instant messaging app Telegram, which has more than 20 million users inside Iran

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora