Leading Human Rights Group Urges US to Enact Afghan Women's Bill
After conducting over one hundred extensive interviews with Afghan women, a leading human rights group has concluded that threats against women by warlords and the Taliban are undermining women’s participation in Afghanistan’s upcoming presidential elections. Human Rights Watch reports that these attacks on women have “created an environment of fear and caution” and that many women “wore burqas when traveling outside of Kabul…not out of choice, but compulsion due to the lack of safety guarantees.”
According to Human Rights Watch, because many warlords worked with US forces to oust the Taliban, “the United States and other coalition governments have not made the warlords’ treatment of women a high priority.” The report lists examples of the types of threats and intimidation Afghan women’s rights activists are facing, such as receiving death threats by phone and the setting off of explosions in front of their homes. Many of the women interviewed expressed their frustration regarding the lack of security provided to them by the international security forces and the central government.
As a way to combat the threats and intimidation against women in Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch is urging the United States to “enact the Afghan Women Security and Freedom Act (S2032) (HR 4117).” With the help of the Feminist Majority, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) introduced the act earlier this year. The act calls for direct funding for the Ministry of Women's Affairs, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, and Afghan women's organizations. The act also calls for expansion of international peacekeeping forces and the authorization of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) to intervene to stop human rights and women's rights violations, which the current mandate does not allow.
11/25/2015 Afghan Women Launch 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence - Afghanistan marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and begun participating in the worldwide 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which is being called in Afghanistan "Peace from Home to the World." During the launch day's event, which was attended by government officials, including First Lady Rula Ghani and women's rights activists, speakers expressed their commitment to ending violence against women.
First Lady, Rula Ghani gave a speech on ending violence against women and supporting women by stating that "war often leads society towards violence and this violence is in violation of human dignity. . . .