[JURIST] Women in Afghanistan still face abuse at the hands of man despite progress in the implementation of a law to protect women’s rights, according a report [text] released Tuesday by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) [official website]. The report, titled “Still a Long Way to Go,” details the implementation of the Law of Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW law) [text, PDF] enacted in August 2009. The UNAMA looked at reported cases of violence against women at different stages of the judicial process from October 2010 to September 2012 and gathered information from prosecutors, judges and police officers from 22 provinces, as well as conducted more than 200 interviews with women victims, doctors, legal representatives, UN agencies and more. Obtaining accurate and reliable information was challenging, but the report stated violence against women is still widespread in Afghanistan. Of those reported, battery and laceration crimes were the most prevalent, followed by sexual violence and harmful practices such as early and forced marriages.
Many women victims of violence do not report their situation to law enforcement and judicial institutions due to cultural restraints, social norms and taboos, customary and religious beliefs relegating women to subordinate position, fear of social stigma, exclusion and, at times, even threat to life. As a result, many incidents of violence against women were not reported to formal law enforcement and justice institutions. For example, according to estimations of the AIHRC [Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission] office in Paktya, almost 80 per cent of relevant cases were not reported to the ANP [Afghan National Police] or the judiciary.
The report concludes that serious concerns remain in laws, policies and practice, and the government should commit to eliminating violence against women and improving implementation of the EVAW law.
Violence against women has been a long-standing issue in Afghanistan and around the world. Last month the UN urged [JURIST report] countries to implement policies that will end violence against women. Also in November the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly approved a resolution [JURIST report] calling for a global ban on female genital mutilation. At the same time, Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] released a report [JURIST report] detailing violence and obstacles women are facing in Colombia, where the legal framework is often not properly applied despite the government’s progress in enacting legislation to protect violence against women.