Pajhwok Afghan News, March 6, 2006

Women rights situation in Afghanistan worries AIHRC

154 self-immolation cases involving women were reported from the western zone alone

By Zarghona Salihi

KABUL, Mar 6 (Pajhwok Afghan News): Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has voiced concern at the situation of women's rights in the country in 2005.

Gulbar was burnt by her husband ( )
RAWA: AIHRC report about Afghan women lists the “official” figures, the real cases are much higher and most of the self-immolation among women is never reported.

In a report released here on Monday, the leading rights watchdog pointed out that self-immolation and forced marriage cases remained high and there was still a shortage of healthcare and education facilities for the other half.

Hangama Anwari, a member of the commission, told reporters they had prepared a detailed report on the women rights situation in the outgoing Afghan year, which ends on March 21.

According to the figures provided by her, 154 self-immolation cases involving women were reported from the western zone alone and 34 from the southern and eastern parts of the country.

As many as 144 forced marriages and 25 money-for-opium marriages took place in the outgoing year in the southern Helmand province. Sixty-nine of the 230 women, who attempted suicide, died across the country.

Hangama alleged courts were biased against women. She reiterated health facilities for women remained lamentably inadequate. Every 30 minutes, an Afghan woman dies from delivery-related complications.

Girls have minimal access to education in some areas, according to the AIHRC official, who stressed women constituting 50 percent of the population - certainly deserved a better deal.

Ahmad Fahim Hakim, deputy chairman of the commission, urged the government to set up offices for registering marriages and divorces and create family courts to tackle the issue of violence against women.

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