Afghan women

From the Rethink Afghanistan site in the USA:

The truth is that American military escalation will not liberate the women of Afghanistan. Instead, the hardships of war take a disproportionate toll on women and their families.

Stephen de Tarczynski interviews Afghan women’s rights activist Malalai Joya: here.

Mourning Michael Jackson, ignoring the Afghan dead. By Tom Engelhardt. Source: TomDispatch: here.


7 thoughts on “Afghan women

  1. Rape an everyday occurrence in Afghanistan: UN

    KABUL, July 8 — Afghan law does not protect rape victims and for too long communities have turned to traditional forms of justice which tend to criminalise victims of a profound problem, the United Nations said today.

    “This is an issue that is under-reported and to a significant extent concealed, but it is a huge problem in Afghanistan,” Norah Niland, the United Nations’ human rights representative in Afghanistan, told a panel of Afghan women.

    A UN report, the full version of which is yet to be published, described rape as an everyday occurence.

    A summary of the report said that in northern Afghanistan, for example, more than a third of cases analysed showed rapists were directly linked to local leaders who are immune from arrest.

    Those likely to commit rape are close family members, men who work in prisons or orphanages and men in powerful positions either in state-run institutions or in armed groups and criminal gangs, it said.

    In many communities, shame is attached to a victim of rape rather than the criminal, the report said.

    Families will often resort to the traditional and religious practices of “baad” and “zina” to save face, either by insisting the victim marry the rapist or prosecuting her for sexual relations outside of marriage.

    Afghanistan’s penal code does not explicitly address the crime of rape or define it, something which the government must address urgently, the report said.

    Sima Samar, head of Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission, said the government had been reluctant to face the problem of rape, a taboo in conservative Muslim Afghanistan, but it should implement a new rape law soon.

    “I have to admit that they are not very receptive … but we have to resist and change that,” Samar said.

    She said existing laws treat adultery and rape as the same crime.

    Samar also said that too much attention had been paid to military efforts in Afghanistan, often at the cost of implementing effective programmes which address the country’s deep social problems.

    The report recommended that traditional community meetings and councils, such as “jirgas” or “shuras”, should not be used to address rape cases because they do not respect women’s rights and often lead to baad or zina.

    Although the panel consisted of urban, educated Afghan women, Samar said that shuras in rural parts of Afghanistan should be receptive to the report’s message. “It depends who takes that risk and breaks that taboo and silence,” she said. — Reuters


  2. Afghans head asylum requests

    Norway: Immigration officials have reported that the number of refugees seeking asylum has risen sharply this year, with the biggest surge from Afghanistan.

    The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration claims that just over 8,000 people sought asylum in the country in the first half of the year, up 50 per cent from the same period in 2008.

    Afghan refugees soared to just under 2,000, from about 400 in same period last year.


  3. Also, Jeanne Brooks, a committed Women’s eNews reader, brought to the attention of Women’s eNews editors that statements in the Afghan marriage law, which we cheered last week, allow a husband to cut off his wife financially if she does not submit to him at his request. The law also has a clause that allows a wife to work outside the home only with her husband’s permission. Activists criticized the law this week: A July 14 article by the Associated Press reported that “critics saw it as a return to Taliban-style oppression of women by a government that was supposed to be promoting democracy and human rights.”

    The activists’ criticism coincides with a new report from the U.N. showing that risks to women in Afghanistan are growing under President Hamid Karzai’s administration. According to the report, entitled “Silence is Violence,” it’s not just Islamic militants who are to blame–the violence comes from all sectors of society and is worsening due to little intervention by government institutions and leaders, reported Eurasianet on July 15.


  4. Pingback: Torture and rape in ‘new’ Afghanistan | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: Thomas Friedman’s militarist propaganda | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: Afghanistan, bloodshed and profits | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  7. Pingback: War crimes in Afghanistan | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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