AIHRC Raises Concern Over Increasing Violence Against Women in Afghanistan
 
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News - Afghanistan

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) on Sunday expressed concerns over the sudden increase in number of cases related to violence against women. The AIHRC said that within the first four months of the current year, over 2,500 cases of crimes against women have been registered with the Commission.

Looking at the number of cases, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) is also worried and blamed the government for failing to protect women in the country.

Violence against the women in Afghanistan is not a new phenomenon, but the rate at which it has started scaling new highs has alarmed the human rights institutions and activists.

According to statistics available with the AIHRC, over 2,500 cases of violence were registered with the Commission during first four months of the current year. The Commission said that in the past two years, more than 280 women were murdered by the family members of the victims.

"The most horrible act of violence against women is honor killing. It is worrying the human rights institutions, and we urge the Afghan government to seriously fight the menace and wipe it out as soon as possible," said Latifa Sultani, Women Rights Coordinator of AIHRC.

Meanwhile, the HRW demanded that the Afghan government should fulfill all the promises it had made at the Tokyo Conference, regarding protection of women rights in the country.

"The Afghan government needs to take the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) Law very seriously. Every police officer in every district has to understand this Law and has to act immediately to investigate and make an arrest when appropriate. Unfortunately, this just does not seem to be happening in the country," said Heather Barr, HRW researcher.

Women rights institutions have said that there is no fear of law among the citizens which is one of the reasons behind the increase of violence against women in Afghanistan.

Human Rights Watch is worried over the increase in violent crimes against women, and sought help from donor countries to sort out the issue with Afghanistan's government. The organisation asked donor countries to cease all aid to Afghanistan as long as the commitments it makes are ignored and quality of life for Afghan women does not improve.

Human Rights Watch blamed the Lower House of the Afghan Parliament for not approving the EVAW Law until just recently, and more broadly, taking the issue of women's rights very lightly.

Several incidents of violence against women in Afghanistan still remain unreported due to cultural restraints, social norms and taboos and religious beliefs.

In the December 2012 report, United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) made 29 recommendations to the government on the EVAW law.

As of now, the EVAW law is facing a serious logjam as it has been stalled in the Lower House by the MPs on the pretext that some of the articles are against the Islamic Sharia law.

This has angered the network of civil societies in Afghanistan. They say that if the law is not approved by the Parliament then it will be a reason behind the increase of violence against women in the country.

The activists are urging the President to support the law.

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