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Indo Asian News Service, August 14, 2006

Suicide an option for desperate war-widows

UNIFEM Survey revealed: "65 per cent of the 50,000 widows in Kabul see suicide the only option to get rid of their miseries and desolation."

Lailuma Sadid

Kabul, Aug 20 (IANS) Poverty, hardship and unemployment are driving women in Afghanistan to prostitution, with suicide the only option to escape their miseries, says a UN study.

Violence against women is widespread all over Afghanistan.

"The latest research by the underground women's rights organisation the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) reveals that as many as 25,000 Afghan women worked as prostitutes in 2001 - 5,000 of those were in Kabul alone - with stark predictions that the number will rise as women and girls resort to selling themselves to escape poverty."

South China Morning Post, April 9, 2006

Frustrated by the hardships they are facing over the years, 65 percent of the 50,000 widows in Kabul see suicide the only option to escape their miseries and desolation, a survey conducted by the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) says.

It revealed that majority of Afghan women are victims of mental and sexual violence, The News said.

Calling it 'a bitter fact', UNIFEM's Director Meryem Aslan said that average life span of Afghan women was 20 years less than women living in other parts of the world. She said child and mother mortality rate was still very high as 1,600 to 1,900 women among each 10,000 die during childbirth (around 16-19%).

'The latest research by the underground women's rights organisation, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), reveals that as many as 25,000 Afghan women worked as prostitutes in 2001 - 5,000 of those were in Kabul alone - with stark predictions that the number will rise as women and girls resort to selling themselves to escape poverty.'

According to RAWA, Aslan described the condition of widows, especially those living in Kabul, as terrible. She said widows living in Kabul have to look after their families in face of little opportunities of earning livelihood and high rate of inflation.

Without elaborating on the topic, she said 16 of the 65 percent women had already ended their lives. Highlighting the social structure, she said family and gender discrimination and violence against women was common in most parts of Afghanistan.

She said men being the decision-makers in the family structure are to blame for gender discrimination and violence.

She said besides violence by their male partners, women were also facing physical and mental torture by their fellow women. But such cases were not as much to be reckoned with, she added.

The report was prepared by UNIFEM in collaboration with other governmental and non-governmental rights agencies, she said adding the survey was launched in 2004 and ended in May this year.

Category: Women, HR Violations, Poverty - Views: 11472


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