Afghanistan: Women’s Shelters Remain Independent

This month, President Hamid Karzai approved regulations allowing women’s shelters in Afghanistan to remain independent and receive donations without a government intermediary.

This marks a victory for women’s rights in Afghanistan.  Only ten years ago, victims of domestic violence had no place to flee. Now there are 14 women’s shelters operating in Afghanistan.  Director of the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan Georgette Gagnon said the women’s groups were “able to convince the government that women’s shelters were needed” and that “they needed to be independent to preserve women’s rights and dignity.”

The Karzai government did not advertise these current regulations because of controversy generated last winter by supporters and opponents to an earlier drafts imposing stringent regulations on women's shelters.  In February, the government proposed regulations which would have provided obstacles for women trying to obtain shelter housing.  For example, women would have been required to appear before an eight person government panel and even submit to a virginity test. However, after women's rights advocacy groups sounded their disapproval, the Karzai government abandoned the burdensome proposals. 

Compiled From: Feminist Majority Foundation; NPR (3 October, 2011)