Elimination of violence against women 1394

Introduction

Violence against women is the most serious human rights violation in Afghanistan. It occurs in various forms including physical violence, economic, verbal and psychological violence. They usually relate in one way or another to harmful traditions and customs.

 Statistic of violence against women, obtained from the registered cases of violence against women during the first six months in 1394 exceeds 2579 cases. This figure was reported 2403 cases during the six months in 1393 which shows 7.32 percent increase in 1394.

Out of all cases of violence against women during the first six months in 1394, a total of 731 cases which makes up 28.34 percent of all registered cases of violence against are physical violence. Another 183 cases, which comprises around 7.10 present of all cases of violence against women include various types of sexual violence and 900 cases which make up 34.90 percent of all cases of violence against women are cases of verbal and psychological violence against women. Similarly, 550 cases, covering 21.33 percent of cases of violence against women are cases of economic violence.  The remaining 215 cases which, cover 8.34 percent of all cases, include other types of violence against women that, would be explained briefly as following

  1. Physical Violence:

 

Findings by the AIHRC show that the most horrible type of violence is physical violence, especially beating which is imposed on women in a cruel way. Sometimes beating causes death of women. Statistic on physical violence against women shows that out of 731 cases of physical violence, the most cases include beating in various forms, which cover 682 cases. This figure covers 26.44 percent of physical violence against women. A total of 25 cases of physical violence are wounding. In addition, 13 cases of forced labor have been reported. Setting women on fire is another type of violence against women, which include 3 cases. One case of amputation has been reported. Around 7 cases of physical violence have let to death of women. These seven cases of death of women have been personally reported to the AIHRC and violence registration form has been filled out, for this reason they are mentioned separately. Maybe there are many cases for killing women, which have not been reported, but the AIHRC has made efforts to document such cases during the six months in 1394. The findings are presented as follows.  

  • Cases of Killing Women During Six Months:

Assessment by the AIHRC show that killing is one of the most shocking type of physical violence against women and children in Afghanistan.  Since the beginning of 1394 until the end of Sunbola in the current year, 190 cases of killing of women have been registered by different regional and provincial offices of the AIHRC. The said cases have not been recorded in the Commission’s database, but they are documented by the staff of the Women Rights Unit. Out of this figure, 101 cases of killing relate to honor killings, which can be counted as intentional killing and they have been committed intentionally. Similarly, this type of killing have been committed intentionally and with justification of safeguarding the honor and (Namoos), while 89, cases are targeted killing committed by  the anti-state armed elements for achieving  political purposes. During the year 1393, a total of 162 cases of killing of women have been registered and documented by the AIHRC out of which 92 cases related to honor killings and the remaining cases are target killings. If we evaluate cases of killing of women by cases, it shows that the number of killings of women during the first six months in 1394 compared to 1393 has been doubled. The number, type and level of addressing of killings of women differ from zone to zone.

Number of Cases of Killing Women Based on Zones

Since the beginning of Hamal until the end of Sunbola 1394, a total 190 cases of killing women have been recorded by the AIHRC from all over Afghanistan. Out of 190 cases of killing women documented by the AIHRC, 61 cases (32.11 percent) relate to the North zone, 52 cases (27.37 percent) belong to the northeastern zone, 38 cases (20.00 percent) are from South zone, 28 cases (14.74 percent) relate to the West zone, and 11 cases (5.79 percent) relate to the central zone. 

As mentioned earlier, out of these 190 cases of murder, the majority are cases of honor killing and around 41 cases (40.59 percent) related to the North zone, 30 cases (29,70 percent) belonged to the Southern zone, 21 cases (20,709 percent) were from the West zone, 7 cases (6.93 cases) related to the northeast zone and 2 cases ( 1.98 percent) occurred in the central zone.

The number of cases of killing women is undoubtedly greater than what is mentioned in this report, but lack of trust of the people and victims of violence on the government practices, especially the law enforcement organs, weak rule of the government in the districts, in remote provinces have caused hopelessness among the victims of violence to report their cases. On the other hand, there are lots of obstacles in front of human rights observers to document these cases in the remote parts of the country. 

  • Judicial Prosecution of the Cases of Killing Women Based on Each Zone:

Assessment by the AIHRC show that out of 190 cases of killing women committed in all over Afghanistan, perpetrators of 51 cases (26.84 percent of all the cases) have been arrested and after prosecution by the assigned attorney, their files were sent to the court.  Out of 28 cases of killing in five provinces of the western zone, 22 cases (43.14 percent) have been processed. Out of 61 cases in five provinces of the northeastern zone, 19 cases (25.37 percent) have been processed. Out of 52 cases in eight provinces of the northeastern zone 2 cases, out of 38 cases in 9 southern zone, 2 cases, out of 11 cases in the central zone, 6 cases have been processed.

Perpetrators of 139 cases (73.16 percent of all the cases of killing) have not been arrested yet. The least judicial action regarding the killing of women has been taken in the northeastern and southern zones. Due to lack of security in the south zone, the victims are not able to report the cases to be followed up in the courts, cut in the northeastern zone the relatives of the diseased women are faced with family and social pressures and they refrain to follow up the cases. Paragraph 2 of article 39 of the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women has created a big challenge against women. If a woman refrains from following up the case, the file would be closed. Non-judicial proceeding of such cases put the women in a defenseless position and the perpetrators with a full safety resort to the most severe types of violence against women

  1. Sexual Violence:

Sexual violence is one of the most serious problems for women in Afghanistan. A large number of women and girls become victims of this crime annually. Sexual violence is considered as a taboo in Afghan tradition and society. It occurs as sexual assault, uncommon sexual relations, insult and sexual humiliation, forced prostitution, forced abortion, etc. therefore, they try to conceal cases of sexual violence and not to be registered.

In spite of that, around 183 cases of sexual violence have been registered by different offices of the AIHRC during the six months in 1394, which cover 7.10 percent of all cases of violence against women.

Sexual assault is the most serious and concerning sexual violence in Afghanistan. In most cases, sexual assault is combined with other types of violence, which usually ends up with the death of the victim. Statistic of violence against women in six month of the year 1394 contains 18 cases of sexual assault which differentiated from other cases of sexual violence. If intermarriage forced intercourse and sodomy and forced prostitution is counted as sexual assault, out of all cases of sexual violence in six months of the year 1394, almost 75 cases are sexual assault.

40 cases of sexual harassment, 7 cases of forced abortion, and 8 cases of forced watching of pornographic films and 53 illegal relations of husbands with others have been reported.

  1. Verbal and Psychological Violence

Verbal and psychological violence is the most common type of violence against women, which have received the least attention as violence against women. Such type of violence exert negative effects on the psychology and spirit of the victims. Humiliation, insult, and threat are the common types of violence that, inflect serious negative impacts on the characteristics and spirit of women.

Verbal and psychological violence against women may occur at home or public places in the form of harassment on the streets and puts women in a difficult and dangerous situation.

The AIHRC registered 900 cases of verbal and psychological violence during six months in 1394. This figure covers 34.90 percent of all registered cases of violence occurred during those six months. The registered cases of such violence are very less than the actual number, because most of women tolerate and not disclose such cases due to various reasons. These reasons can be fear of the consequences, considering it as natural or lack of access to protection sources. 

Out of the registered cases of verbal and psychological violence during those six months, 496 cases of insult, 14 cases of humiliation for having no son, 86 cases of threat to death, 130 cases of threat to death and expulsion from home, 75 cases of forced isolation and 5 cases of humiliation for deformities or being ugly have been recorded.

Economic violence:

Economic violence occurs in various forms. Statistics collected by the AIHRC show that 550 cases of economic violence have been registered by different offices of the AIHRC during six months in 1394. This figure covers 21.33 percent of all cases of violence against women during this year. Non-provision of alimony includes 403 cases, which constitutes almost 81 percent of all cases of economic violence against women. 7 cases of prevention of work, 50 cases of prevention of the right to inheritance and 47 cases of prevention from the right to properties have been registered.

 

Violence against women is not limited to the above-mentioned violations. According to the AIHRC’s databases, about 215 other cases of violence have been registered at the AIHRC Offices. Among them 1 Case of Bad, 6 cases of selling and buying women under the pretext of marriage, 13 cases of lack of access to health services, 30 cases of polygamy, 49 cases of prevention from choosing a spouse, 21 cases of deprivation from the right to education, 22 cases of prevention from visiting relatives, 52 cases of forced engagement, 7 cases of negation of relationship and other 14 cases that are committed under various pretexts.

Violence against women has negative social, cultural and economic effects on the life of Afghan women, affecting health, self-esteem and social status, living conditions and welfare of women, and prevent their development and growth, causing them to be isolated.

AIHRC’s database for the six months of 1394, reveals that in 24.51% of incidences such cases ov violence have led to injuries and mental health problems for victims. This figure represents a higher level of psychological damage of violence against women.

Violence against women breaks apart the foundation of the family. According to the AIHRC’s figures, unknown fate, demand for separation, leaving home and running away from home respectively constitute 43.12 percent, 5.89 percent, 12.83 percent and 65.27 percent of the consequences of violence against women.

Injury, suicide attempt, suicide, self-immulation, murder, Member fractures, disability, begging, leaving a job, sexually transmitted diseases, self-immolation attempt, leaving education, pregnancy (as a result of rape), resorting to prostitution and so on are also considered the consequences of violence against women.

Handling cases of violence against women by the AIHRC:

Database of the AIHRC shows that out of the total number of cases registered with the AIHRC, 1451 cases have received legal aid from the AIHRC. 338 cases of violence have been resolved through mediation. 143 cases have received advocacy. 33 cases have been introduced to protective centers. 205 cases have been sent to the enforcement agencies through official letters. About 60 of which were administered by telephone with officials and 133 other cases were dealt with through various ways.

Handling cases by courts and prosecutors;

The AIHRC’s assessments and studies have shown that women have less access to justice in the remote areas of Afghanistan, and as it was mentioned above, one of the causes of violence against women, is lack of handling of these cases. Implementation of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women can be the most Effective way to combat violence against women.

Although we have not yet received the report of the proceedings in the Court and Attorney Offices on the cases of violence against women in 1394, but based on the written information from the Attorney Offices received by the AIHRC in 1393, the following information is presented: " since the beginning of 1393 until 8 Dalw of this year the Attorney Offices have received, about 965 cases of which 57 cases have been finalized after the trial process is completely finished. 186 cases were referred to the Primary Court of Kabul province, 25 cases to the Court of Appeal, and 155 cases were kept in the Administration Directorate of this Office because of the lack of referring of plaintiffs. 134 cases were kept because of the withdrawal of the victim (woman) in accordance with paragraph 2 of Article 39 of the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women. 170 cases are under the investigation of Research Committees, and other cases were sent to the relevant authorities because of lack of jurisdiction.

An official letter received from General Attorney Office reads "the perpetrators of cases that have been prosecuted at the Court have been convicted and punished according to the crimes committed, starting from a fine of 60000 Afs up to twenty years imprisonment and capital punishment (of death)" But the report prepared by the General Attorney Office does not explain that how many people have been punished for committing violence against women, and the type of punishment have not been mentioned in the report of the General Attorney Office.

The performance of the Afghan Supreme Court regarding the cases of violence committed in 1393, is as follows: "based on the reports that are received since the beginning of 1393 until the end of the third quarter of this year from the central and provincial courts, a total of 805 cases as violence against women has been addressed and the relevant verdicts have been issued. Out of the above mentioned figure 259 cases of rape and 546 cases of other types of violence against women have been reported. "

Violence against women, caused by several factors. Some of these factors are rooted in the social and cultural structures of society and a number of legal irregularities and weak rule of law and corruption in the judicial system of the country. According to the AIHRC’s study on the causes and context of sexual assault and honor killings the most important factors of violence against women can be listed as follows.

  • Failure to deal decisively with the perpetrators, and continuation of culture of impunity;
  • Corruption and abuse of state positions
  • The involvement of influential people in addressing violence against women, and resolving of cases of violence against women by non-official and informal authorities;
  • Hiding of the crimes and lack of referral to judicial authorities for fear of and mistrust upon government agencies;
  • Lack of proper coordination between judicial authorities (especially the police, prosecutors and courts)
  • Women’s limited access to justice (courts, attorney office, female detention centers and lawyers)
  • Existence of illegal weapons and illegal armed groups;
  •  Lack of security and weakness of state authority in districts and provinces;
  •  Lack of necessary support for the victims of violence against women;
  • Negative attitudes toward women in a patriarchal traditions of society;
  •  Prescribing a negative attitude towards women, and patterns of aggressive behavior against women;
  •  Sexually prevailing attitude towards women;
  • Hiding incidences  of rape and honor killings due to traditional sensitivities;
  • Considering violence against women as a normal action;
  • Illiteracy and low levels of public awareness;
  •  Traditional patterns of marriage in Afghanistan;
  • Poverty and unemployment;
  •  Increased drug addiction

The result of this report calls for serious attention of the authorities to the issue of violence against women, and to fighting against this phenomenon requires a detailed plan of combating violence within the families. Therefore, the government should take effective and practical measures, in the framework of its legal obligations, enshrined in international instruments of human rights as well as in the domestic legislation, to improve the women’s rights situation in the country. The AIHRC given the current problems in the areas of women's rights, presents the following recommendations to improve the living situation of women in Afghanistan.

Recommendations:

  • Raising the level of awareness and knowledge of people of the rights and social benefits and individual privileges of the citizens, particularly the status of women's rights in the family and social relationships, by developing and implementing an extensive program of continued education by the Ministry of Education, Higher Education, Hajj and Religious Affairs, Justice, Women's Affairs and other ministries;
  • Create opportunities and areas of work to provide income generation jobs for women aiming to ensure financial independence and eliminate extreme financial dependence of women to men in the family;
  • Create opportunities for women in high-level administrative organs and public and private institutions, and their involvement in decision-making and national macro policy, to guarantee permanent support for the protection of women’s role in public life,
  • Develop effective strategies to combat the rule of superstitious traditions and customs that affect women's human rights and continue to support the patriarchal culture in the country;
  • Design and implement an effective program to treat drug addicts, and the fight against drug addiction as a contributing factor in the increase of violence against women;
  • Provide sound, committed and expert capacity in the justice system with a goal to eliminate the culture of impunity, and serious struggle against those who support the continuation of culture of impunity;
  • Expansion of Special Attorney Offices to Fight against Violence, and increase the number of staff of these offices in all provinces, and compulsory registration of marriages;
  • Approval of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women, and the creation of practical opportunities for the implementation of the law;
  • Modify and review some of the provisions of the laws of the country that are in conflict with the ​​human rights values, especially women's rights;
  • Criminalize some instances of violence, including honor killings and rape in the laws of the country, especially the law on the Elimination of Violence and the Penal Code;
  • Raising awareness and knowledge of professional police and security forces of human rights education and standards to strengthen the spirit of responsibility and respect for human rights;
  • Signing and ratifying the Palermo Protocol on the fight against human trafficking, in order to combat human trafficking, especially trafficking in women, and sexual exploitation of women;
  • Facilitate women's access to justice and judicial organs at both national and provincial levels, in order to help female victims of violence benefit from legal protection.

The End