Last Updated: Friday, 29 July 2016, 15:01 GMT

Violence against women on the rise in Afghanistan: Deputy Minister

Publisher UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)
Publication Date 7 January 2013
Cite as UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Violence against women on the rise in Afghanistan: Deputy Minister , 7 January 2013, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/5124f1fa2.html [accessed 30 July 2016]

7 January 2013 – Violence against women in Afghanistan continues to rise despite government efforts to implement the law on elimination of violence and the establishment of a High Commission for the Prevention of Violence against Women, the Deputy Minister for Women's Affairs said on Monday.

Sayeda Muzhgan Mustafawi told a press conference that undesirable customs, ancient traditions and irrational beliefs about women in Afghan society were the main reasons for the rise in violence, adding that increased reporting had also led to a jump in the figures.

"These customs and traditions have deep roots in society and it is very difficult to root them out quickly," said Mrs. Mustafawi.

"Compared to the last ten years, the levels of poverty and illiteracy have significantly improved in the country but we still have increasing levels of violence against women… the larger number of cases is also due to increased reporting of violence against women by the media."

Mrs. Mustafawi also outlined other factors responsible for the rising levels of violence, including poverty, lack of awareness among men and women about the legal and religious rights of women, drug addiction, lack of a formal council of Ulema (religious scholars) on women's affairs and psychological problems associated with living in a conflict environment.

Despite these challenges, the Deputy Minister said that the Ministry of Women's Affairs had made progress, noting in particular that the draft of the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law had been formulated three years ago and was now being implemented countrywide. She also highlighted that a High Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women had been set up under the chairmanship of the Minister of Women Affairs two years ago and was now functioning in 30 provinces.

"We have so far assessed and resolved almost 38,000 cases of violence against women in Kabul and the provinces and 448 women prisoners have been released under different decrees. We have established a database of cases of violence against women in the provinces and a toll free telephone line is being established at a civil society organization to provide legal advice to women in Afghanistan," said Mrs. Mustafawi.

The head of the Special Prosecution Office for cases of Violence Against Women in Kabul, Qudsiya Niazi, said that during the last three years, 1,542 cases of violence against women had been legally followed while 231 cases had been prosecuted in the courts.

"About 700 cases have been legally pursued during the past year," said Mrs. Niazi. In addition to Kabul, Special Prosecution Offices for cases of Violence Against Women also operate in the provinces of Herat, Badakhshan, Balkh, Kapisa and Nangarhar.

Also speaking at the press conference, the Deputy Head of the Gender and Human Rights Department of the Ministry of Interior, Sayed Umar Saboor, said that Afghan police had arrested 1,400 alleged culprits of violence against women in Kabul and provinces over the past year.

He said that a department of Interpol had been activated at the Ministry of Interior to help apprehend criminals who had escaped to other countries. "Violence against women is a social issue and the police cannot resolve it alone. There is a dire need for all segments of society to join hands and support the police and other relevant institutions to alleviate violence against women in the country," said Mr. Saboor.

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