UN Agencies Condemn Violence Against Women in Afghanistan
UN Women, the United Nations agency committed to gender equality and women's empowerment, condemned the recent intimidation and targeted killings of Afghan women government officials. Several prominent women have been intimidated, abducted, and killed - including Afghanistan's most senior female police officer, Lieutenant Negar, who died on Monday after being shot by an unidentified gunman in Helmand.
"Recent cases of targeted killings point to the urgent need to guarantee women's and girls' rights as the Government of Afghanistan prepares for a full takeover from international forces and moved towards provincial and parliamentary elections," said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. "The empowerment of women and realization of their rights are fundamental to the reconstruction of Afghanistan so that women and men can take responsibility for the future development of their country."
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay ending a visit to Kabul yesterday also expressed concern over pervasive violence against women in Afghanistan and called on the Afghan government to ensure enforcement and implementation of the 2009 Elimination of Violence against Women law (EVAW). The law criminalizes several acts of violence against women, including rape, forced self-immolation, physical abuse, child marriage, and human trafficking. A United Nations report, however, revealed only a small number of prosecutions.
Pillay also used her trip to Afghanistan to continue to call on President Hamid Karzai to reconsider his recent appointments to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). "I urge an extra effort by the President and his Government to ensure that the human rights gains of the past 12 years are not sacrificed to political expediency during the last few months before the election," said Pillay. Karzai appointed five new commissioners to the AIHRC in June, including Mullah Abdul Rahman Hotak, a former Taliban leader opposed to women's rights. Pillay emphasized, "The rights of women in particular must not be sacrificed, they must be particularly protected."
Pillay further commented on the role of women in the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan, stating that "any peace process must be inclusive and just in order to be durable and lead to a stable Afghanistan and that means ensuring the full and active participation of women in all aspects of any peace process."
Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 9/16/2013; UN Women Press Release 9/16/2013; UNAMA 9/17/2013; Relief Web 9/17/2013; Tolo News 9/17/2013
2/27/2015 This Bipartisan Bill Will Hold Colleges Accountable for Ending Campus Sexual Assault - A bipartisan bill aimed at holding colleges and universities accountable for rape and sexual assault cases was introduced in Congress yesterday, spearheaded by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Some of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act's key key provisions include a requirement of confidential reporting systems on colleges and universities, minimum training requirements for campus personnel, and stricter penalties for schools found to be in violation of Title IX or the Clery Act. . . .
2/26/2015 If This Bill Passes Federal Law Will Add Consent to Sex Ed Curriculums - Right now, federal law does not require health or sex education to include sexual assault prevention - but that could change with a new bill introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).
The Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015, which was introduced earlier this month, would require all public secondary schools in the country to include teaching "safe relationship behavior" in order to help prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. . . .