U.N. adds to pressure on Afghan government to protect women

KABUL Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:48am IST

Afghan women hold their children as they walk in Torkham, border of Afghanistan and Pakistan October 31, 2012. REUTERS/Parwiz/Files

Afghan women hold their children as they walk in Torkham, border of Afghanistan and Pakistan October 31, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Parwiz/Files

Related Topics

KABUL (Reuters) - The United Nations joined mounting criticism of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government on Tuesday over women's rights, urging it to enforce a law designed to prevent violence against women.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a report that the country still had a long way to go in implementing the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW).

The legislation made child marriage, forced marriage, forced self-immolation and other violent acts including rape a criminal offence.

The 2009 law came law came after years of lobbying by Afghans and Westerners alike, and was held up as a beacon of progress.

"Progress in addressing violence against women will be limited until the � law is applied more widely," Georgette Gagnon, director of UNAMA's human rights unit, told a news conference after the release of the report.

"So we are calling on the Afghan authorities to take much greater steps to both facilitate reporting of incidents of violence against women and actually open investigations and take on prosecutions."

Afghan women are increasingly concerned for their future as the deadline looms for most NATO-led combat troops to leave by the end of 2014.

They have won back basic rights in voting, education and work since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

But some female lawmakers and rights groups say abuse against women is on the rise because Karzai's government is losing interest as it tries to advance the reconciliation process with the Taliban, an allegation it denies.

On Monday, unknown gunmen shot dead Nadia Sediqqi, acting head of the women's affairs department in eastern Laghman province, as she was going to work, in an attack widely condemned by the international community.

She had replaced Hanifa Safi, who was killed in a bomb attack five months earlier.

"We have educated women who are being locked inside houses," said teacher Masooda Jan, 35. "I wish that those women who are locked in their homes by their families and are tortured and beaten would be rescued."

Afghan women's groups had expressed concern that without international backing, it would be difficult to press for their rights, said Gagnon.

(Additional reporting by Sudaba Khusravi; Writing by Michael Georgy, Editing by Jonathan Thatcher)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Sino-Indian Ties

Reuters Showcase

Trade Row

Trade Row

U.S. to press India on trade row during Modi's Washington visit.  Full Article 

U.S. Monetary Policy

U.S. Monetary Policy

Fed renews zero rate pledge, but hints at steeper rate hike path.  Full Article 

No Ground War

No Ground War

Obama vows U.S. will not fight another ground war in Iraq.  Full Article 

Yes or No?

Yes or No?

Divided, Scots prepare to vote on fate of the United Kingdom.  Full Article 

Champions League

Champions League

Last-gasp Boateng goal hands Bayern win over City.  Full Article | Related Story 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola could drain billions of dollars from African economies - World Bank.  Full Article 

Style Icon

Style Icon

Singer Taylor Swift leads People Magazine's best-dressed list.  Full Article 

New Devices

New Devices

Amazon expands Kindle lineup, boosts price of basic e-reader.  Full Article | Related Story 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage