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Amnesty urges protection of Afghanistan women’s rights activists
Amnesty urges protection of Afghanistan women’s rights activists

[JURIST] Afghanistan women’s rights activists are facing increased violence and a lack of governmental support, according to an Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] report [materials; press release] published Tuesday. According to AI, female activists face threats, sexual assault, killing of family members, grenade attacks on homes and assassinations. The report outlines how these women and girls “have been targeted not just by the Taliban but by warlords and government officials as well.” AI claims that Afghan authorities are ignoring threats against women, that very few investigations are carried out and “prosecutions and convictions [are] even rarer,” and that many face stigmatization for their honesty in coming forward with their experiences. Although the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) [text, PDF] law was passed in 2009, AI says it remains “unevenly enforced,” as there is a lack of resources and support allotted to the government bodies and officials charged with protecting women. According to the group, “[t]he culture of harassment in public institutions must be addressed, and the authorities must challenge attitudes which lead to abuses.” The report calls for protection (especially in rural areas), prosecutions using appropriate legislation, and no more discrimination in the level of protection.

Afghanistan has been the target of much criticism [JURIST op-ed] regarding human rights issues. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) [official website] announced [JURIST report] in February that Afghanistan has made “some progress” toward preventing the torture of government detainees. Last month UNAMA also released a report [JURIST report] indicating a 22 percent increase in civilian causalities in 2014, making 2014 the deadliest year in Afghanistan since 2009. In November the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women called on the government of Afghanistan [JURIST report] and the international community to adopt sustainable measures to address violence against women in the country. UNAMA and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] released a study [JURIST report] last February that raised concern over the treatment of women in the country.