Afghanistan Violence

October 27, 2013 by  

Afghanistan Violence, Although women’s rights in Afghanistan have improved since 2001, female politicians and activists have been increasingly subjected to threats, intimidation and attacks, says UN Women chief Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

DW: How has the US-led invasion of Afghanistan and the subsequent ISAF mission impacted the situation of women in the country?

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Despite the multiple challenges facing Afghanistan, remarkable gains have been made on women’s rights in the last decade. Since the 2001 fall of the Taliban regime, Afghanistan has made important strides in promoting women’s rights, the protection of women and girls, and the participation of women in decision-making.

Equality between men and women is mandated in the country’s constitution. Special measures have resulted in a parliament with 28 percent women and about 2.7 million girls returning to school. These are incredible attainments bearing in mind that Afghanistan was a very different country for women and girls only 12 years ago.

Mlambo-Ngcuka: ‘Women remain one of the most marginalized segments of the Afghan population’
Afghanistan, therefore, has come a long way. But these gains must be protected. Women’s rights continue to be violated, female officials are being targeted and killed, and legal protection is under threat. It is imperative that women’s rights and empowerment are prioritized in the coming period of transition.

What are the main issues affecting Afghan women today?

In spite of major achievements, women remain one of the most marginalized segments of the Afghan population. There are concerns about a possible regression of the hard-earned rights and about how best to sustain them. Despite a robust legal framework regarding women’s rights, female Afghans still suffer widespread discriminatory cultural practices like child marriage and lack of access to public life, especially in exercising their right to education, participation in the formal labour force and political participation.

What can you tell us about violence against women in Afghanistan?

Violence against women and girls is exceptionally high in Afghanistan and is almost at a pandemic level, with up to 87.2 percent of women having experienced some form of violence, such as physical, psychological, sexual, economic violence, social abuse as well as forced and early marriage.

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