News from the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)
RAWA News


 

 

 

Add RAWA RSS Feed to Feedreaders



 




 


RAWA Photo Gallery
From RAWA Photo Gallery
 


Help RAWA: Order from our wish list on Amazon.com

RAWA Channel on Youtube

Follow RAWA on Twitter

Join RAWA on Facebook


CNN, August 20, 2011

Afghan shelter plan stokes controversy

Observers of Afghanistan noted that abuse of women remains common in the post-Taliban era and often is accepted in conservative and traditional families

By David Ariosto and Joe Sterling

Under the cover of darkness, a 9-year-old girl and her mother ran from their stone and mud home on the outskirts of Kabul. They feared the wrath of her stepfather.

"My father was beating me and my mother," said the girl, who to protect her identity will be referred to as simply Zarina. "He would insult my mother and sometimes wouldn't bring us food."

The last straw was an unwanted advance. Zarina, now age 10, said the man tried to rape her. She managed to slip past him and escape.

Zarina and her mother bounced from shelter to shelter before landing in a U.S.-funded women's home back in Kabul, the nation's capital.

Zarina's tale, however, is not unusual in Afghanistan, where women were persecuted under the Taliban regime from the mid-1990s until it was toppled in a U.S. invasion a couple of months after the al Qaeda terror network attacked the United States on September 11, 2001.

Observers of Afghanistan noted that abuse of women remains common in the post-Taliban era and often is accepted in conservative and traditional families, in which women who flee domestic violence and sexual attacks can risk severe punishment often at the hands of their relatives.

Since the fall of the Taliban, a scattering of women's shelters have cropped up in and around the Afghan capital, operating independently and commonly funded by international donors.

But, advocates say, a controversial proposal working its way through the Afghan government could jeopardize these safe havens.

Human Rights Watch published a report on shelters this year and believes the government should "support, rather than control, the work of shelter providers." She (Rachel Reid) points out that the government is packed with "misogynist warlords and wide open to corruption. A government shelter is far more likely to cave in to pressure from families and tribes to hand back the victims, which will put women's lives at risk."
CNN, Aug. 20, 2011

The measure, if passed, would nationalize the shelters, placing them under control of Afghanistan's Ministry of Women's Affairs.

"It's better to bring it under Afghan law," said Afghan Deputy Minister of Justice Mohammad Qasim Hashimzai. "Because the shelters will be more organized, legal and better controlled."

Women's rights advocates say doing so could strip these shelters of the very independent qualities that make them effective, particularly their ability to decline family requests to return the women.

Human Rights Watch published a report on shelters this year and believes the government should "support, rather than control, the work of shelter providers." That would ensure "safe and secure refuge" for women fleeing violence.

"The Afghan government claims that taking over the shelters would lead to sustainable funding and better management, but the real agenda is clear," Rachel Reid, Afghanistan researcher at Human Rights Watch said in the report.

"The government is increasingly dominated by hard-line conservatives who are hostile to the very idea of shelters, since they allow women some autonomy from abusive husbands and family members."

She points out that the government is packed with "misogynist warlords and wide open to corruption. A government shelter is far more likely to cave in to pressure from families and tribes to hand back the victims, which will put women's lives at risk."

The rights group's report cited some some positive measures about the shelter proposal, such as implementing "minimum standards of food and heating, requiring shelters to provide education and literacy services, and requiring that any police interviews with women or girls in shelters must be carried out by female officers."

But the group said the plan would result "in the closure of some shelters, restrictions on women's freedom of movement, compulsory forensic examinations, a likely reduction in protection of shelter residents from abusers, and the possible expulsion of women still in need of safety."

Selay Ghaffar, executive director of Humanitarian Assistance for Women and Children of Afghanistan which runs a shelter, told Human Rights Watch that conservatives in government simply "want to control women, to push women back into their houses, like under the Taliban regime."

But Zarina envisions a future of freedom, not Taliban-style domestic enslavement.

"When I grow up, I would like to continue my education and become a teacher, because when I was at home my father was not allowing me to go to school."

Category: Women, HR Violations - Views: 4966


Related

21.02.2011: Afghan Government Cracks Down on Women’s Shelters
16.02.2011: A young girl killed by powerful locals in north Afghanistan
05.02.2011: Stoning victim was bought bride
03.02.2011: Violence against Afghan women hit record
02.02.2011: Young Girl Raped in Western Afghanistan by Provincial Security Forces
03.01.2011: Fleeing Violent Husbands Puts Afghan Women in Jail
13.12.2010: Afghan women face abuse for fleeing forced marriages
16.11.2010: 15 years’ jail for fleeing from a cruel husband
21.10.2010: Struggles Are A Way Of Life For Afghan Women
09.08.2010: “Liberating” the Women of Afghanistan
06.08.2010: Don’t exploit women to justify war, says Afghan activist
29.06.2010: The Afghan women jailed for “bad character”
10.06.2010: Rapists of a Child are Still Free After a Year
15.05.2010: Hillary lies again to Afghan women
31.03.2010: Sold, raped and jailed, a girl faces Afghan justice
08.03.2010: Violence against women persists in Herat
27.02.2010: The Plight of Afghan Women in Prison
19.01.2010: Afghanistan: Women Dying and Torture Run Amuck
07.01.2010: Afghan women turning to suicide in greater numbers: report
08.12.2009: Afghan women among worst off in world: HRW
06.12.2009: Afghan rape victim lives in fear
30.11.2009: UN: Rape in Afghanistan a Human Rights Problem of ‘Profound Proportions’
24.10.2009: According to NGOs, 90 Percent of Afghan Women Are Abused
30.09.2009: Five years old girl was murdered in Saripul province of Afghanistan
02.10.2009: Burkas behind bars: Afghan women in prison
22.09.2009: Women, War and Afghanistan
03.09.2009: AFGHANISTAN: “Differentiate rape from adultery” - rights groups
28.07.2009: Baghlan governor's Nephew Rapes Kid
08.07.2009: AFGHANISTAN: Call for tougher laws on rape
07.06.2009: Sexual violence against children common in Afghanistan: report
13.05.2009: Problems with Afghan Prisons Reported before Prostitution Scandal
02.04.2009: Sharia for Shias: ‘Legalised rape’
31.03.2009: Afghan leader accused of bid to ‘legalise rape’
31.03.2009: ‘Worse than the Taliban’ - new law rolls back rights for Afghan women
01.02.2009: Gul Afroz, 13-Year Old Gang-Rape Victim Demands Severe Punishment for the Rapists
11.01.2009: 14-Year-Old Aziza Was Raped by Four Men in Badakhshan
04.01.2009: A 12-year old Boy Raped in Afghanistan
08.01.2009: 14-Year-Old Afghan Girl Butchered in the Name of Honour
30.12.2008: Two Gang-Rape Victims in Afghanistan Cry for Justice
19.12.2008: Kidnapping and Raping of a 15-Year Old Afghan Girl in Farah
09.12.2008: Warlords Toughen US Task in Afghanistan
05.11.2008: A 7-year Old Afghan Girl Raped in Ghazni provicne
12.10.2008: Afghan MP, Payinda Mohammad is Accused of Human Rights Violations

Latest

Most Viewed

Comments