This video about Afghan feminist Malalai Joya in the USA says about itself:
Noam Chomsky & Malalai Joya: The Case for Withdrawal from Afghanistan, March 25, 2011, Memorial Church, Harvard University: Filmed by Paul Hubbard.
The talk by NATO country governments about supposedly supporting Afghan women’s rights has nothing to do with the, deteriorating, real situation of Afghan women under war ond occupation. It is war propaganda, aimed at stuffing the bloody costly Afghan war down NATO countries’ taxpayers’ throats.
By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:
Britain ‘must do more’ to support Afghan women
Thursday 07 March 2013
Britain must do more to support Afghan women‘s rights and combating violence against women and girls in the country, Amnesty urged today.
The charity warned ministers that the work done so far has been merely “a drop in the ocean.”
Though the government says it is a “staunch supporter” of Afghan women’s rights, little of its recent work in the country has specifically focused on women’s rights, Amnesty said.
It said that while the Department for International Development (DfID) has spent £178 million on over 100 reconstruction and development projects in Afghanistan, only two have specifically addressed women’s rights, and both were completed in 2010.
Amnesty has launched a new petition to coincide with International Women’s Day pressing British ministers to ensure women’s rights in Afghanistan are properly prioritised.
In particular the charity is calling for tangible support on issues such as providing women’s shelters and higher recruitment and retention rates of female police officers.
Currently just one 1 per cent of Afghan police officers are women.
Concerns have also been raised that women’s rights could be sacrificed in reconciliation talks with the Taliban.
NGOs have pointed out that the Afghan government’s 70-strong High Peace Council, set up to thrash out a peace deal, includes only nine women.
Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said time was running out.
“The Taliban are waiting and watching, and if they see us soft-pedalling on women’s rights they’ll take this as a signal that neither we nor the Afghan government are actually serious about the issue.”
She welcomed International Development Secretary Justine Greening’s announcement earlier this week that tackling violence against women will be made a “country strategic priority” for DfID in Afghanistan after 2015.
But Ms Allen said this this prioritisation must be reflected cross-departmentally.
“The bottom line is that there can be no peace in Afghanistan without women’s rights,” she said.
US defense secretary’s Afghanistan trip a debacle: here.
Afghan women lose political power as fears grow for the future: here.
Women’s rights don’t justify invading Afghanistan, and shouldn’t be launched in the name of imperial democracy again: here.
- Afghan women march against violence (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Afghan Women Rally For Rights In Kabul (rferl.org)
- A Voice for Peace in Afghanistan: ‘Stop This Criminal War’ (commondreams.org)
- Former Female Member of Afghan Parliament Seeks Asylum (thinkprogress.org)
- Afghanistan’s pioneering female MP seeks asylum as progress for women unravels (telegraph.co.uk)
- MALALAI , The Un-Sung Afghan Hero . Women of words and symbol of freedom . (ideatravels.wordpress.com)
Most women in Kabul prison charged with ‘moral’ crimes, victims of abusive husbands
By KATHY GANNON Associated Press Writer
April 09, 2013 – 9:20 am EDT
KABUL — Lost and alone in a strange city Mariam called the only person she knew, her husband’s cousin. She worried he wouldn’t help her because she had left her home in Afghanistan’s northern Kunduz province, fleeting to the capital Kabul to escape his relentless and increasingly vicious beatings. But he promised to help. Too busy to come himself he sent a friend who took her to “some house”, held a gun to her head and raped her.
Finished with her he settled in front of a TV set, the gun on a table by his side. Choosing her moment, Mariam picked up the gun shot her assailant in the head and turned the gun on herself.
“Three days later I woke up in the hospital,” she said, slowly, shyly removing a scarf from her head to reveal a partially shaved head and a long jagged scar that ran almost the length of her head where the bullet grazed her scalp.
From the hospital Mariam was sent to a police station and from there to Badam Bagh, Afghanistan’s central women’s prison where she told her story to The Associated Press. For the past three months Mariam has been waiting to find out why she is in jail, the charges and when she can leave.
“I haven’t gone to court. I am just waiting.”
Hugging a ratty brown sweater to protect her from the damp cold of the prison, Mariam is one of 202 women living in the six- year- old jail. The majority of the women packed are serving sentences of up to seven years for leaving their husbands, refusing to accept a marriage arranged by their parents, or choosing to leave their parent’s home with a man of their choice __ all so-called “moral” crimes, says the prison’s director general Zaref Jan Naebi.
Some of the women were jailed while pregnant, others with their small children. Naebi says there are 62 children living with their imprisoned mothers, sharing the same grey steel bunk-beds, napping in the afternoon hidden behind a sheet draped from an upper bunk, oblivious to the chatter and the crackling noises from the small fussy television sets shoved off to one side of the rooms.
The Taliban were thrown out 12 years ago ending five years of rule and regressive laws that enforced a tribal tradition and culture more than religious compulsions denying girls schools, ordering women to stay indoors unless accompanied by a male, and in some of the more severe cases even blackening the first story windows so prying eyes could not see women within. Women were forced to wear the all- encompassing burqa or suffer a public beating.
In the first years after the Taliban’s December 2001 removal strides seemed to be made for women, schools opened, women came out of their house, many still in the burqas but appearing on television and getting elected to Parliament.
But women’s activists in Kabul say within a few years of the Taliban’s ouster the ball was dropped, interest waned and even President Hamid Karzai began making statements that harkened back to the Taliban rule saying women really should be accompanied by a man while outside their home. A new law was enacted called the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW), but its implementation is erratic and rare, says the United Nations Assistance Mission on Afghanistan, whose human rights arm monitors such things.
An UNAMA report issued in December last year says it is difficult to even get information about violence against women from the authorities partially because they don’t want to look bad if it showed that little was being done and little, if any, official documentation on violence against women exists.
While it might not be against the law to run away or escape a forced marriage, the courts routinely convict women fleeing abusive homes with “the intent to commit zina (or adultery)” which are most often simply referred to as “moral crimes,” says the report.
“Perceptions toward women are still the same in most places, tribal laws are the only laws followed and in most places nothing has changed in the basics of women’s lives. There are policies and papers and even laws but nothing has changed,” said Zubaida Akbar whose volunteer Haider organization fights for women’s rights and sends lawyers and aid workers to the women’s prison to defend the inmates in court.
In the overwhelmingly male dominated legal system, Akbar said even when an inmate gets in front of the judge, “he says ‘it is her husband, she should go back and make it work. It is her fault and not her place to leave him __ not in our society.'”
Afghanistan remains a deeply conservative society, where men dominate and tribal jirgas still hand out rulings that offer girls and women to settle debts and disputes.
PHOTO: Picture taken March 28, 2013 shows children walking through the prison in Badam Bagh, Afghanistan’s central women’s prison, in Kabul, Afghanistan. Sixty-two children living with their imprisoned mothers in the six- year- old jail, the majority of the mothers are serving sentences of up to seven years for leaving their husbands, refusing to accept a marriage arranged by their parents, or choosing to leave their parent’s home with a man of their choice, all so-called â€œmoralâ€ crimes(. AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
Picture taken March 28, 2013 shows children walking through the prison in Badam Bagh, Afghanistan’s central women’s prison, in Kabul, Afghanistan. Sixty-two children living with their imprisoned mothers in the six- year- old jail, the majority of the mothers are serving sentences of up to seven years for leaving their husbands, refusing to accept a marriage arranged by their parents, or choosing to leave their parent’s home with a man of their choice, all so-called â€œmoralâ€ crimes(. AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
Surrounded by a high fence topped with razor wire, there is one small patch of open space where children being kept with their mothers in Badam Bagh prison play. Nearby women hang out their laundry. The two story building is only six years old but already it is grimy and neglected looking. On balconies obscured by mesh and steel bars women sit and smoke.
Naebi said inmates attend a variety of classes during the week, ranging from basic literacy, to crafts and sewing, with the intention of giving the women a skill once they leave the prison.
Inside the stark building, six people often share a small room that is their cell. Three sets of bunk-beds line the walls. In some of the beds infants tucked under grimy blankets sleep while their mothers tell their story.
Nuria, dressed in maroon colored clothes from head to toe, quieted her infant boy as she told of going to court to demand a divorce from a husband she was forced by her parents to marry. Defiant even in prison, Nuria said “I wanted to get a divorce but he wouldn’t let me go. I never wanted to marry him. I loved someone else but my father made me. He threatened to kill me if I didn’t.”
Nuria had pleaded with her father before her marriage, begging to marry another.
“When I went to court for the divorce, instead of giving me a divorce, they charged me with running away,” she said. The man she wanted to marry was also charged and is now serving time in Afghanistan’s notorious Pul-e-Charkhi prison, one of the country’s largest prisons, overcrowded and with a reputation over the last several decades of maltreatment.
At the time she went to court Nuria didn’t know she was pregnant. She gave birth to her son in jail. Although the baby is her husband, who has offered to have the courts set her free if she returns home, Nuria said she has refused.
“He wants me to come home now because I have his son but I said ‘no. I will wait until my sentence is up,'” in eight months, she said.
Twenty seven year old Adia left her husband, a drug addict, seeking shelter with her parents. They wanted her to return to her husband, who followed her demanding she return.
“Instead I escaped with another man but it wasn’t a romance. I was desperate to get away and he said he would help me but he didn’t he just left me. I went to the court. I was angry. I wanted him charged and my husband charged but instead they charged me and sentenced me to six years. I went back to court to appeal the conviction and this time I was sentenced to seven and a half years.”
Seven months pregnant, Adia will have her baby in jail. Fauzia isn’t sure of her age. She looks to be early 60s. She stares out of the prison bars. Already seven years in jail, Fauzia will serve a 17 year sentence for killing her husband and her daughter in law. Expressionless she tells her story, rolls up her sleeve to display a mangled elbow where her husband had smashed her with a stick. She was his fourth wife.
“I was in one room. I came into the next room and they were there having sexual relations. I found a big knife and killed them both.”
Zubeida, the women’s activist, said despite what she calls a veneer of change, little is different for most Afghan women.
“We have the appearance of everything, but when you dig in deep down below the surface nothing fundamentally has changed. It has been tough. It has been really tough,” she said.
Islamic MPs block women’s rights law
Sunday 19 May 2013
by Our Foreign Desk
Religious MPs in Afghanistan blocked legislation aimed at strengthening women’s rights on Saturday, arguing that it violated Islamic principles and encouraged disobedience.
Conservative MP Khalil Ahmad Shaheedzada said the legislation was withdrawn shortly after being introduced in Parliament because of an uproar from religious parties.
“Whatever is against Islamic law, we don’t even need to speak about it,” Mr Shaheedzada boasted.
The Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women has been in effect since 2009 but only by presidential decree.
It is being brought before Parliament now because women’s rights activist and MP Fawzia Kofi wants to prevent its potential reversal by any future president.
The law criminalises child marriage and forced marriage, as well as banning “baad,” the traditional practice of exchanging girls and women to settle disputes.
It also makes domestic violence a crime punishable by up to three years in prison and specifies that rape victims should not face criminal charges for fornication or adultery.
There has been spotty enforcement of the law as it stands.
A United Nations analysis in late 2011 found that only a small percentage of reported crimes against women were pursued by the Afghan government.
Between March 2010 and March 2011 – the first full Afghan year the decree was in effect – prosecutors filed criminal charges in only 155 cases, or 7 per cent of cases.
Conservative MP Nasirullah Sadiqizada Neli suggested that removing the custom of prosecuting raped women for adultery would lead to women freely engaging in extramarital sex, safe in the knowledge they could claim rape if caught.
MP Mandavi Abdul Rahmani of Barlkh said the Quran also makes clear that a husband has a right to beat a disobedient wife, as long as she is not permanently harmed.
Mr Shaheedzada also claimed that the law might encourage disobedience among girls and women.
“Even now in Afghanistan, women are running from their husbands,” he said.
“Girls are running from home. Such laws give them these ideas.”
Saturday’s failure of the legislation in parliament reflected the power of religious parties but changed little on the ground since the decree is still the law of the land, however loosely enforced.
Afghan reactionary lawmakers are trying to pass a law to ensure that family members can never testify as witnesses. This is a green light for more women and girls to be abused at home, but some courageous politicians are fighting back and say our outcry could make the difference! Sign now to stand with Afghan women and tell everyone!
Sign the petition
Sold into marriage at 12, Sahar Gul lived in a house of horrors. Her in-laws chained her in the basement, beat her with red hot iron pipes, starved her and pulled out all her fingernails when she refused to prostitute herself for them.
Her attackers’ sentence was reduced to a meager one year, and now they’re free again! Worse still, the Lower House of Parliament just passed a bill that would ban aggressors’ family members from testifying in court. This would prevent countless children and women from ever getting justice.
The Upper House has beaten back anti-women legislation before and high-level officials say the Avaaz community could tip the balance and help stop the bill before it goes to a vote. But to do that, we need to act fast. Click below to sign this urgent petition now — when we reach 1 million signers we’ll launch a massive local media campaign targeting key senators until the bill is dumped:
As a child, Sahar Gul was sold by her brother for $US 5,000 into a home of horrific abuse. When she was finally rescued, torture left her so weak that she came out of her basement prison in a wheelbarrow. Last year her tormentors received 10-year sentences, but a lower court judge just set them free.
Afghan women’s rights groups, aghast at the rolling back of their rights have been actively supporting Sahar Gul’s case and working to ensure that relatives aren’t banned from testifying against victim’s aggressors. If we join these brave women now, we can show the Afghan politicians that the entire world stands behind Afghan women.
In school now, Sahar Gul is courageously rebuilding her life — her dream is to someday lead a women’s rights organization. Her strength of spirit embodies the hope for a better future for women and girls in Afghanistan, and everywhere — let’s help her start fulfilling her dream by getting Afghan leaders to protect, not persecute women:
Afghan women’s rights advocates and extraordinary survivors of abuse have stepped forward time and again to fight for human rights. Over the years, Avaaz members from around the world have consistently rallied to back them up. Let’s do it again.
With hope and determination,
Luis, Alaphia, Alex, Ricken, Bissan, Mais and the rest of the Avaaz team
PS – Many Avaaz campaigns are started by members of our community! Start yours now and win on any issue – local, national or global: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/start_a_petition/?bgMYedb&v=23917
Sahar Gul: The fears of a tortured Afghan child bride (BBC)
Karzai: A legacy of failure on women’s rights? (Open Democracy)
Afghan judges free three jailed for torture of child bride Sahar Gul (Guardian)
Afghanistan: Escalating Setbacks for Women (Human Rights Watch)
Women’s rights face new obstacles in Afghanistan (Global Post)
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