Afghanistan: UN Expert Says Government Must End Impunity for Violence Against Women

A U.N. expert on violence against women recently called on Afghanistan’s leaders to implement comprehensive programs to combat and prevent widespread violence against women. The expert, U.N. Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences Rashida Manjoo, stated that despite recent legislative reforms, violence against women and girls in Afghanistan remained a significant challenge and a source of “deep concern.”

 

According to Ms. Manjoo, common forms of violence against women in Afghanistan include honor crimes, femicide, sexual violence, domestic abuse, violence associated with forced and early marriage, and sexual harassment at work and in public. Afghan women told the Special Rapporteur they feared reporting violence because they viewed the judicial system as corrupt and hostile to women’s rights. Women also feared retaliation from relatives or that they would be charged with so-called “moral crimes” associated with sexual violence or escaping a forced marriage. Additionally, many Afghans did not understand the purpose of shelters for women victims of violence, viewing them as places that ruin families and encourage immoral behavior.

 

Ms. Manjoo stated, “[a]ccountability for all crimes committed against women and girls, the empowerment of women, and the transformation of society, need to remain a focus for the Government of Afghanistan, independent State institutions, civil society organizations and also the international community.”

 

The Special Rapporteur issued her statement after completing a nine-day visit to Afghanistan. She will submit a full report to the U.N. Human Rights Council next year. 

 

Compiled fromAfghanistan: UN expert calls for sustainable measures to address violence against womenUN News Centre (November 13, 2014).