PAN (Translated by RAWA), January 24, 2010

A Young Afghan Girl Committed Self-immolation

Head of Women’s Administration of Nimroz said that from the start of the solar year till now, 30 cases of beating, 21 cases of self-immolation, divorce, rape and running away from home has been recorded

By Ramin

Self-burn in Herat
The Canadian Press (Jan. 7, 2010): More Afghan women are choosing suicide to escape the violence and brutality of their daily lives, says a new human-rights report prepared by Canada's Foreign Affairs Department. The director of a burn unit at a hospital in the relatively peaceful province of Herat reported that in 2008 more than 80 women tried to kill themselves by setting themselves on fire, many of them in their early 20s. (More Photos ( ))

17-year-old Amina of Chakhansoor District of Nimroz Province committed self-immolation and died because of a forced engagement to an old man.

Habibullah, one of Amina’s relatives, told PAN that Dur Mohammad had engaged his daughter (Amina) to 55-year old Faiz Mohammad and in exchange had engaged Faiz’s 22-year old daughter to himself.

25-year old Habibullah has a garments shop in the district and said that 50-year old Dur Mohammad has a wife and five children and Faiz Mohmmad has a wife and four children.

He added that Amina had many suitors and some young men were even ready to pay as much as 750,000 Afghanis but Amina’s father didn’t agree. According to him, Amina had told her father that she didn’t agree to marry an old man and wanted to be engaged to someone young but her father didn’t take her seriously. Finally, Amina poured a container of petrol and set herself on fire.

Habibullah said, “Amina was burnt so much that she couldn’t be taken to the hospital and died in her home.”

Amina Hakimi, head of the Women’s Administration of Nimroz, said that she knows about Amina’s self-immolation and a delegation of people from the Administration and local representatives has been sent to the Org Village to find out the cause of Amina’s suicide.

She condemned Amina’s engagement to the old man and said families shouldn’t force their daughters into engagement or marriage. This act is not allowed according to Islamic Law.

Abdul Jabar Purdili police chief of Nimroz said that the case was being investigated and the criminals will be punished according to the law.

Ghulam Farooq Sherzad, head of the appeal court of Nimroz said that if proven that Amina committed suicide because of the forced engagement her father will be arrested and explained that in such circumstances he may be jailed for ten years.

Head of Women’s Administration of Nimroz said that from the start of the solar year till now, 30 cases of beating, 21 cases of self-immolation, divorce, rape and running away from home has been recorded whereas there had been 22 cases of beatings in the same period last year.

She stated the reasons of increase in violence against women and girls as poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and lack of awareness of women about their rights.

With Amina’s cases, the number of such cases rises to 5 in Nimroz.

In summer this year, an 18-year old girl who had been married for a month set herself on fire and died in Zaranj (centre of Nimroz). 35-year old Abdul Bari who had two wives and eight children had brought this girl from the Zahidan city of Iran where she was a refugee.

According to local officials this new bride had burned herself in the kitchen because of her husband’s beatings and mental pressure on her.

Last week, local officials reported the suicide of 19-year old Zarmina who was a resident of Dahne Bala Village of Tala Wa Barfak District of Baghlan Province who took poison. According to them, Zarmina’s parents had engaged their daughter to a 45-year old man in exchange for 250,000 Afghanis but she was not happy.

In another case, 19-year old Maleeha of Balghali Village of the centre of Sar-e-Pul Province had been killed by her father, Gul Mohammad, four nights back.

Although Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission has not published the exact number of violence against women this year, but according to their information, 2000 cases of violence against women have been recorded in 2008.

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