In the Name of the Almighty who Created all Humans Equal
Since Nawroz, New Year, at least five women have been killed in Afghanistan. Three women were killed in Herat, one of whom was beheaded by her husband. Another woman was killed by her husband in Khost and another was hanged after the unjust decision of the tribal court in Paktya. Halima, 17, was nearly beaten to death by her husband.
In addition to this in 2012, the most brutal cases of violence against women were reviled in Afghanistan.
-Sahar Gul, 15, was tortured by her husband and his family. Her fingernails were pulled out. Her face and body were burned and her hair was pulled out because she refused to become a prostitute. Her husband is still free.
-Storai was beaten and hanged with a rope by her husband because she gave birth to a third girl. Her husband is still free.
- Mumtaz and her sisters were attacked with acid because she refused a marriage proposal. Only one of the attackers is in jail.
-Qamar Gul was raped by two men but is now in prison for adultery.
-Nazanin, 9, was raped by two of her uncles and is still waiting for justice. The criminals are still free.
-Aziza, 14, was kidnapped and raped by a warlord in her area for 20 days. Aziza has now returned to her home in Jawzjan and because she filed a complaint, she is afraid for herself and her family. The criminals for her kidnapping and rape are still free.
-Sima, a teacher, was killed in Baghlan province with a knife by her brother because she worked outside the house.
-Sadaat, 15, was married by force to a man who is older than 30 and was beaten and tortured daily. Sadaat tried to burn herself, but was saved and is now under treatment. No one has been arrested for violence against her.
The cases above are just some examples of violence against women in Afghanistan.
The Human Rights Commission in March 2001 reported 1026 cases of violence against women. That number has grown to 2700 cases in 2012. Most cases of violence are not in the record and are never heard of. While the Elimination of Violence against Women law passed in 2009 has banned beating, killing, torture, rape and other kinds of violence and has set specific punishment for those who commit these crimes, the criminals are rarely punished. In reality, in some cases, women are the ones who goes to jail for the crime they did not commit.
Islam and the constitution of Afghanistan is puts emphasis on social justice and equal rights. Islam is a religion that banned and stopped people from burying their daughters alive, and injustice and brutality against women. But five women were killed in the span of 2 weeks in an Islamic republic and there is no sign of justice. Islam emphasizes on love between couples but in an Islamic country, when a husband kills his wife, her Islamic and human rights are forgotten and nobody is ready to maintain justice. According to the Constitution of Afghanistan, women and men are equal, but in practice a women who has been raped is imprisoned while the rapist enjoys security and freedom. In the same country, a 9 year old girl is raped by her uncles and justice is silent.
We, the women and men of Afghanistan who want equality and justice, demand from the people’s representatives, who represent the men and women of Afghanistan, the Ministry of Justice, that is responsible for creating a just environment for men and women in Afghanistan, and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, which must protect the rights of the same women who are brutally tortured, that they should no more forget women and when crimes like these happen in front of their eyes, they should remember justice and humanity and raise their voice.
As the voice of millions of women across the country, the following are Young Women for Change’s demands:
-We demand advocacy from Afghan men. Men, fathers, husbands, and brothers: until when are you going to sit silent when these crimes happen? Until the day a woman from your own family is hanged, cut into pieces, burned, swarmed with bullets, imprisoned or killed? Injustice to one woman is injustice to all women, including your female family members. Raise your voices!
-Maximum punishment for those who have committed murder in the last two weeks.
-The freedom of the women who are in jail because they were raped.
-Follow-up on all cases of violence against women mentioned and not mentioned above.
-Laws on paper do not have any value if they are not implemented! The government of Afghanistan needs to step up and take necessary measures for raising the awareness of law implementer, and judicial system that fight these crimes about the EVAW law. We demand that Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Culture and Information and governmental media start campaigns on violence against women in province and district levels and raise awareness and accountability using the EVAW law!
-Ministry of Justice needs to take serious measures to implement the law of Elimination of Violence against Women in all of Afghanistan.
-Advocacy programs for women who burn in the fire of violence by media and relevant government agencies.
-Breaking the suffocating silence of violence against women by women and government agencies.
-Condemning violence against women by Ulema Council. Dear Ulema! Are you not aware of these crimes and injustice? As religious leaders, isn’t it your obligation and job to raise your voice? Why are you silent?
-The Ministry of Health needs to oversee and report all possible cases of violence to the relevant authorities and these authorities, with the cooperation of human rights and women’s organizations, need to take tangible steps towards security and protection of women.
-The office of the President of Afghanistan, in addition to condemning such acts needs to work closely and directly with authorities, so that all criminals who are guilty for violence against women be arrested and punished strictly and no one is given a freebee, regardless of their social status. Mr. President! Women also belong to the country you are the president of and you are responsible to pay attention to their rights and security. As the leader of this country, protecting women’s rights is your duty and obligation. Every Afghan woman has the right of access to justice and protection by law just like your dear daughter, Malalai Karzai has.
The Afghan women and men of conscience will never forget these crimes. We will never stop fighting for implementation of justice and equality in this country.
With Hopes of Justice and Equality!
Young Women for Change