PAN (Translated by RAWA), August 30, 2008

Graph of self-immolation among Afghan women shows rise in Herat

Most of the people in who have committed self-immolation are aged between 12 and 30 years and belong to Herat, Ghor, Farah, Badghis and even Helmand province.

Ahmad Qureshi

Self-burn in Herat
Self-immolation victims in Herat. (More... ( ))

In the present year, 47 cases of self-immolation have been reported by special burn hospital in Herat. Out of these, 42 of the cases had been death as a result of the burns. This shows the rise in the graph of self-immolation, compared to last year.

Dr. Mohammad Arif Jalali, vice head of the hospital told PAN that out of these 47, 43 were women and the other four were men. 39 women and 3 men have died in these cases.

Dr. Jalali said that most of the people in who have committed self-immolation are aged between 12 and 30 years and belong to Herat, Ghor, Farah, Badghis and even Helmand province, but the cases are highest in Herat. He also said that the number of self-immolation cases in the same time last year were 30, out of which 90 percent of the patients had died.

According to his information, in the past eleven months, 1200 cases of burn (people who had been burnt in accidents) had been registered in the hospital.

Dr. Jalali said that although the special hospital for burn was made in the city of Herat with 34 beds with advanced equipments with an aid of 1.5 million by the US and France, the cases have increased in the rural areas.

Most of the causes of self-immolation are domestic violence, and beating by husbands and the families of the husbands.

30-year old Alia who is admitted in the burn hospital of Herat said, “I could not stand family violence anymore so I put myself on fire with petrol.”

Alia also has several children. According to the doctor treating her, 60 percent of her body had been burnt and her health was critical so she could not give more details.


Dr. Mohammad Arif Jalalai said the woman may not be treated in the hospital and her family has said they will send her to out of the country. The doctors say that people burnt 50 to 55 percent have a possibility of being treated in the hospital, but above that the patients usually die.

Seema Shir Mohammadi, head of women’s affair of Herat say that propaganda to reduce domestic violence takes place in the city and that’s why the statistics are low; but propaganda about women’s affairs in several districts has not been effective due to security problems.

She said the reasons for self-immolation are domestic violence, lack of awareness of families about each others’ rights, poverty and unemployment. She added that the statistics of self-immolation are worrying.

Suraya Daqiqi, the person in-charge of the protection and development of women’s rights unit in the AIHRC in Herat also agreed that the statistics of self-immolation are much higher in the rural areas than in the cities.

Daqiqi also declared that self-immolation also takes place in the provinces next to Herat and the reasons are again domestic violence and financial problems.

Some experts in Herat also said that the rise in self-immolation is also due to the return of refugees from Iran. This act has been a custom in Iran and the refugees have been affected by this during their stay there. When they return to their country that effect and condition of their life force them to commit self-immolation.

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