Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

May-22-13

Afghan Women Arrested for 'Moral Crimes' Increases 50%

A new report by the Human Rights Watch shows that in the past 18 months the number of women in Afghanistan incarcerated for 'moral crimes' has increased from 400 to 600, a 50% growth.

Many of the women imprisoned for moral crimes were arrested running away from forced or abusive marriages and families, even though there is no law against leaving. Others are imprisoned for rape, as it is considered "forced adultery." Many of the women imprisoned were also forced to have "virginity tests," an invasive and medically inaccurate exam. Of the female prison population in Afghanistan, 95% of girls and 50% of women are in jail for moral crimes.

In a statement by the Human Rights Watch, the organization stated, "While several high-level Afghan government officials, including from the police and Justice Ministry, have in the past year publicly confirmed that 'running away' is not a crime under Afghan law, such statements have yet to translate into policy, [the report found]. Some legal experts have suggested that a growing view that women and girls should not be charged with 'running away' has merely resulted in a shift toward charging them with attempted zina. A charge of attempted zina unjustifiably assumes that women outside of the supervision of their male relatives must have attempted to have sex."

Heather Barr, the Afghanistan researcher for the Human Rights Watch, told reporters "I think it's possible that as everyone anticipates the departure of foreigners [foreign soldiers], there is a feeling that in a sense things can go back to normal, and... people will be free to ignore [women's rights] in the future. If that's true, that's really is a tragedy, because these ideas didn't come from foreigners. These ideas came from Afghan women's rights activists."

The report comes days after the Afghan parliament failed to ratify a law that would help strengthen anti-violence measures in the country. On Saturday, the Speaker of the Lower House of Afghan Parliament delayed a vote on the Elimination of Violence against Women law after two hours of vociferous debate between conservative religious and more liberal members of Parliament. The Speaker did not specify when the measure would be placed on the floor for a vote again.

Media Resources: BBC News 5/21/2013; Guardian 5/21/2013; Human Rights Watch 5/21/2013; Feminist Newswire 5/20/2013


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

9/1/2015 Nation's "Strongest Equal Pay Law" Set to Pass in California - California Governor Jerry Brown (D) is set to sign what has been called "the strongest equal pay law in the nation." The Fair Pay Act, introduced by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-CA),passed unanimously in both the State Assembly and Senate earlier this summer. . . .
 
8/31/2015 Afghan Women Awarded for Women's Rights Advocacy - Ten Afghan women activists were awarded a prestigious prize and honor last week for their courageous fight for women's rights. . . .
 
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago. Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .