South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

The level of violence has increased by 30 percent in 2013 compared to the previous year, the commission says

By Sohaila Weda Khamosh

An alarming 40,000 case of violence against women has been recorded by the AIHRC (Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission) since it was established in 2002. The attackers in a majority of cases are the men in their families.

The AIHRC is conducting a national inquiry into violence against women, the results of which will be published this year. With specialist women’s rights units and staff in all its provincial and regional offices and nationally, it has been investigating and reporting regularly on the situation of women.

The level of violence has increased by 30 percent in 2013 compared to the previous year, the commission says. But this may only be the tip of the iceberg. Most Afghan women are not allowed to leave the confines of their homes without a male escort.

Some of the crimes against women in the past year (the Afghan new year began on Mar 21, 2013) include:

Freshta’s husband cut her throat with a razor in Kabul

Assassination of Hanifa Safi, head of the women’s department in Laghman

Desert trial of Najiba in Ghorband district, Parwan

Kalsoom was kept prisoner in her house in Badakhshan, and tortured

Murder of a young girl in KunduzAbduction of two young girls in Baghlan

Cutting off of tongue and finger of a young women by her husband in Herat

Murder of a woman for giving birth to a girl for the third time in Kunduz

Parwin Rahimi, head of the women’s rights and support at AIHRC says psychological and verbal violence top the list of crimes against women followed by beating.

An estimated 97 percent of the crimes are committed by male members of the family, the commission concludes.

Latifa Sultani, national coordinator for women’s rights at the AIHRC, believes the number of sexual crimes has increased. “Unfortunately 90 percent of the violence is against women under the age of 18.”

Fawzia Amini, the director of women’s rights in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, says women are sexually abused and murdered, and in turn they resort to suicide and self-immolation. The ministry has recorded at least 4,000 cases “which is really worrying”, she confided.

She said in 1391 as many as 75 women had fled the violence at home and sought refuge in shelters under the ministry in Kabul, and 166 in the provinces.

AIHRC’s Latifa Sultani says 78 women had come to their shelter in Kabul and surrounding districts, and 356 in the other provinces.

The non-governmental organisation (NGO), Women for Afghan Women, says they were aware of 500 cases of women who had escaped to shelters in 2012, “which was a big jump over the previous year”.

There was a spike in missing women, and the discovery of badly mutilated human remains.

On Oct 31 last year, police in Herat found the body of a woman whose nose and ears had been chopped off. The body had been abandoned in a ruin.

A month earlier the body of a 19-year-old girl was found in Khost with gun shot wounds in her head and body. The post mortem report showed she had been sexually abused and then killed. The body has not been identified.

On July 8, a 17-year-old girl was beheaded in Khogiani district, Nangarhar province.

Parwin Rahimi of the AIHRC says, “We have recorded 957 cases of violence against women in 1391 in the Kabul regional office alone.” Even schoolgirls are targets of violence, according to her. The commission has recorded cases of schoolgirls with burn injuries.

Source: The Killid Group  – 02/04/2013 (