Violence against women on the rise in north of Afghanistan
"80% of women are victims of violence, abuse against women has become a tradition"
By Sarfraz, Qadiri, Said Anwar and Ruhullah Arman.
Gulbar is Burnt by Her Husband in Badghis province
RAWA report, Jan 26, 2006
Sexual abuse, murder and other crimes of different types are increasing in the Northern provinces of Afghanistan and this situation has provoked the intense concerns of human rights and women affairs' activists.
Human rights institutions are saying that during this year tens of cases of violence against women and girls, including rape and murder, have been committed in the province of Jowzjan, Faryab, Kunduz, Sar-e-Pul, Takhar and Balkh.
These institutions and some women, who have been victims of the committed violence, are claiming that those who commit such crimes have power, therefore they are not arrested and if they are arrested, after paying money, they are set free.
Maliha 22, a woman from Jowzjan, who is victim of rape, in a video interview that has been recently provided by AHRO to in Kabul and then given to Pazhwak News Agency, acclaims that five men have raped her.
Maliha says: "In Pakistan my husband got money from other men and they used to have sexual intercourse with me. I argued with him, he beat me so I was compelled to come to Kabul and hand over myself to police. A policeman, Mateen, took me to his house and reaped me. Maliha claims that in the next night, the policeman, along with other four men, gang raped her leaving her unconscious.
She adds that when her parents took her away from Kabul to Jowzjan, she informed them about this issue, they told her that the rapists have money and power and no one can stand them.
Miss Maghfirat Sameemi, regional officer of Human Rights Organization in the provinces of Jowzjan, Faryab and Sar-e-Pul, condemns these rapes; called the situation very concerning and told to PNA that recently a man has raped 6 years old, Mubina, in the Khan Charbagh district of Faryab Province.
Ms Sameemi claimed that district chief of Khan Charbagh has taken US$100,000 bribe from the rapist and released him.
She adds that 6 case of rape, 3 case of murder, 16 cancellation of girls' engagement, 47 case of beating of women, 3 case of raping boys; have been registered with their office.
Warlords with records of war crimes and serious abuses during Afghanistan's civil war in the 1990s, such as parliamentarians Abdul Rabb al Rasul Sayyaf and Burhanuddin Rabbani, General Abdul Rashid Dostum, and current Vice President Karim Khalili, have been allowed to hold and misuse positions of power, to the dismay of ordinary Afghans.
HRW, Sep. 27, 2006
Noor Mohammad, 17, resident of Shiberghan city that had conferred Human Rights office in Jowzjan, told that two people who are backed by gunmen, after beating him a lot, had raped him. Authorities arrested one of the men, but after paying bribe, he was freed.
A resident of Faryab province, who didn't want his name to be disclosed, told to PNA: "A family sold their little daughter for Afs.50,000 (US$1,000) and the buyer took her to an unknown place. The girl was sweeping and crying very much."
According to eyewitnesses, in the last month one of the residents of Kart-e-Dostum of Shiberghan city killed a lady with a hummer when he wanted to rape her but she was resisting."
Also in Faryab province, a husband killed his wife by striking her with an axe because she had gone to her father's house without getting permission.
Another victim of this violence is, Nasima, 30, resident of Dashet-e-Qala district in Takhar province. She claims that a policeman has raped her and wants that man to be punished.
Because of this violence, a number of people in Dashet-e-Qala had demonstration on 3rd November 2006, demanding the arrest and punishment of the policeman.
But Khawaja Ghulam Ghous Abubakir, governor of Takhar province, says that they have arrested the policeman and have introduced him to magistrate office; who belongs to commanding security department of Dashet-e-Qala district and had raped Nasima.
But Mohammad Zahir Zafari, in charge of regional office of Independent Commission of Human Rights in north-east zone, confirms the rape of Nasima, says that government actions are not effective in abatement the rape of girls and women.
Mr. Zafari says expresses concern about the intensification of violence against girls and women and says that five women and girls have been raped in Takhar province during the current year.
While talking about these five cases, he mentioned a 16 years old woman, resident of Dashet-e-Qala district.
Womankind Worldwide says millions of Afghan women and girls continue to face systematic discrimination and violence in their households and communities. Guarantees given to Afghan women after the fall of the Taleban in 2001 have not translated into real change.
BBC NEWS, Oct. 31, 2006
This woman introduced herself Mahsoma, claims that she has been raped by three of her brother-in-laws.
She had come to Directorate of Women in Takhar to get divorce from her husband, claimed that her husband has borrowed money from them, which is why he didn't show any reaction against this heinous action.
A number of little girls become the victim of aggressors, due to poverty, destitution and lack of strength against them.
One of these girls is Gul Dasta, 15, resident of Baharak district in Takhar province. She has claims that she has been raped by a landlord's son.
The ordeal of Gul Dasta goes thus: "When my mother was out of home to collect burning wood, and so my other family members, I wanted to graze sheep in pastures, when a 20-year-old son of the landlord shut my mouth threatening me with death took me to the near cotton field and raped me."
Recently Gul Dasta has complained to provincial assembly in Taloqan city, demanding the punishment of this rapist guy.
Razimara Hawash, Director of Women's Affairs in Takhar, demands punishment to these aggressors and says that during this year tens of cases of this type have happened in Takhar, but there are no specific figures available.
She mentioned one of the cases which is assassination of an Iranian woman by her husband in Farkhar district of Takhar province and said: "This woman was victim of her husband's beating and violence but as she was a sportswoman, he never succeeded on her, until he killed her with a knife when she was sleeping in one night of holly month of Ramadan."
She says that this twenty three years old woman was involved in charity activities for Farkhar district and had opened a sports center for the girls in the region. She was also teacher in the school of Farkhar and when students heard about her assassination, they were crying and asking for the punishment of murderer.
Malpaswal Aqanoor Keentooz, security chief of commanding security department of Takhar, had said on that time that police has arrested two members of this woman husband's family to give information about the dwelling-place of the fugitive husband.
Violence against women is multifarious that includes beating, forced marriages of old man with young girls, disabling body parts, burning; physical and psychological oppressions and even killing women.
One of these cases is the killing of 35 years old woman, mother of four kids and resident of Kuhna Qala of Imam Sahib District in Kunduz Province, who was killed by her two relatives with bullets on November 6, 2006.
Malim Juma Khan, district chief of Imam Sahib, assumes this case as family violence and says that Bibi Mariam was going to her house from market along with her 8 years old son, when she was killed by two motor bike riders by bullet shots on her mouth and then the murderers escaped. He added that according to initial investigations and the son of slain being eyewitness, police pursued the case for one hour and caught one of the murderers who is cousin of Mariam and now he is in custody of police.
According to him, Mariam had remarried a year back and since three months she was running a case in the court against her first husband's relatives and heirs to get her four orphaned kids' alimony.
Whilst district chief of Imam Sahib called family violence unprecedented, said that one month ago a youth girl burned herself due to violence and about two months back an adolescent bride was killed by her husband cruelly. According to him, Sultan Shah, 21, husband of this bride has been arrested.
Violence against girls has intensified to that limit that girls are kidnapped in exchange of a fighter dog.
Sanober, 11, has been kidnapped by vigorous people in exchange for a fighter dog, about three months back in Ali Abad district of Kunduz province and till now there is no news about her fate.
Mohammad Zahir Zafari has accused Mehmood, a former local commander, for kidnapping Sanober and says that he has taken a fighter dog from Naimatullah, resident of same district, and has agreed to kidnap and hand over the little girl to Naimatullah and in exchange has sold the dog for Afs.150,000 (US $3,000).
Those who should be in the best position to help, women MPs, another supposed sign of the brave new Afghanistan, are themselves facing violence and intimidation. Malalai Joya, at 28 one of Afghanistan's youngest MPs, regularly changes addresses because of death threats. "When I speak in parliament male MPs throw water bottles at me. Some of them shout 'take and rape her'.
"Many of the men in power have the same attitude as the Taliban. Women have not been liberated. You want to know how women feel in this country? Look at the rate of suicide," she said.
The Independent, November 24, 2006
Fahima Kakar, Director of Women's Affairs in Kunduz province, is calling the growth of violence against women unprecedented compare to previous years. She says that the culture of violence against women is rampant in the society; poverty and illiteracy are the main factors for growth and escalation of violence against women in the family and society.
Some other women are complaining about being beaten by their husbands.
Safora, 35, resident of Sar-e-Pul province, says that her husband has often beaten her with no reasons over small and insignificant issues.
Whilst she had come to Mazar-e-Sharif to meet her sister, she said: "I wish women haven't been in this world. Till when we should be in agony? Is this our only fault that we are woman?"
Ahmad Shah Mirdad, in charge of Control and Survey Department of Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan, is condemning the beating of women and forced marriages and says: "Free marriages with acquiescence, is right of every girl and boy, if they have reached to their legal marriage age, but forced marriages are anti-Shariat and against human rights." He adds that forced marriages are dangerous in long-term and some times become the cause for suicide and self-burning.
These cases of violence in the Northern provinces are reflected while recently Hasan Bano Ghazanfer, Minister of Women's Affairs, by affirming anxiety about situation of women in Afghanistan, addressed it horrific.
On November 5, 2006, Minister of Women's Affairs was talking in a gathering by network of defenders of Afghan Women Rights in Mazar-e-Sharif. She called the purpose of her journey to study the situation and difficulties of women in the northern provinces.
More than 200 women from different provinces had participated in this gathering that had been arranged by UNHCR.
On the other hand Gurgcharan Virdee, in charge of a human rights group in the Northern provinces, told to PNA that 80% of women are victims of violence, abuse against women has become a tradition. She added that they have been able to create awareness amongst a limited number of women.
She said: "We are very much concerned about the violence against women and are trying to solve this issue. But it is very difficult and hard job. Because Afghan society is a traditional and religious society, whenever a woman is raped, her own family members are killing her and this is very painful."
According to her: "information, surveys and studies of their constitution have shown that at first step women need security, secondly they need their rights to be defended and thirdly their rights have to be implemented."
She mentioned about the raping of women and said that this issue is very concerning for them because whenever a woman is being raped, she is killed instantly.
Violence against women and rape are addressed whilst last week campaign to eliminate violence against women in all over the country was announced in Kabul. But a number of women don't consider these campaigns so effective to decrease violence against women.
Human Rights Watch asked the investigating mission of the UN Security Council that is currently visiting Afghanistan, to take rigid steps to decreasing the violence against Afghan women.
This organization in its recent published report has called the situation of Afghan women harsh and has shown intense concerns about violence against women.