Afghan Women Still Face Extreme Violence, Reports UN Expert
United Nations expert Yakin Erturk said that violence against women in Afghanistan is commonplace, pointing to forced and child marriages as the primary cause of violence. Erturk, the Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on Violence Against Women, highlighted poverty, lack of education, and years of warfare as the major causes of women’s current plight in Afghanistan.
Ertürk has just finished a ten-day visit to Afghanistan, where she met with government officials, judiciary members, doctors, police officers, representatives of non-governmental organizations, and women in prison to assess Afghan women’s current circumstances. Afghan women have little protection from abusive situations and few options for redress. The UN expert urged the Afghanistan government and the international community to make the eradication of violence against Afghan women a priority.
The Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs estimates that approximately 60 percent of Afghan marriages include women under 16 years old, the legal marriage age for women, according to IRIN News. Child marriage affects millions of women in developing countries and puts women at risk of contracting health problems, such as obstetric fistula, from becoming pregnant at an early age. Masouda Jalal, the Afghan Minister of Women’s Affairs, called child marriage “a violation of equality” and harmful to girl’s health, their educational and economic opportunities and political participation,” reports IRIN News.
12/9/2013 Mixed Results for Afghanistan's Anti-Violence Against Women Law - The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released their annual report on violence against women in Afghanistan yesterday, revealing mixed results of the country's Elimination of Violence against Women Law.
"A Way to Go: An Update on Implementation of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan [PDF]," found that there was a 28 percent increase in reports of violence against women from 2012 to 2013 , but only 17 percent of those were prosecuted under EVAW - a small 2 percent increase from last year.
The law, which was issued by the executive decree of President Hamid Karzai in 2009, criminalizes 22 acts of violence against women and specifies punishment for perpetrators. . . .