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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More