The UN is calling on Hamid Karzai’s Government to enforce a 2009 law designed to protect women. The legislation made child marriage, forced marriage and other violent crimes including rape illegal.
While the law in Afghanistan may now enshrine women’s rights , the reality is that violence against them often goes unpunished.
Georgette Gagnon, Director of UNAMA’S Human Rights’s Unit says that women don’t feel confident to report crimes committed against them:
“It is important to note that incidents of violence against women still remain largely under-reported due to cultural constraints, social norms and taboos, customary practices in discrimination against women. Also, prevailing insecurity and weak rule of law have hampered women’s access to formal justice institutions.”
Female lawmakers and human rights groups say violence aginst women is worsening as Karzai’s Government tries to advance reconciliation with the Taliban.
On the streets of Kabul, women say they have had enough. One housewife said “Violence against women is increasing. There are bad situations in the provinces. Women burn themselves and it has to be prevented. If the situation remains like this for women, I believe that after 2014 it will get even worse.”
A teacher added: “I hope the international community pays serious attention to Afghan women’s situation. We have educated women who are being locked inside houses. I wish that those women who are locked in their homes by their families and are tortured and beaten would be rescued.”
Afghan women’s groups say that without international backing, pressing for their rights is almost impossible.