Women's rights 'in decline' in Afghanistan

Women in Afghanistan are facing increasing violence almost eight years after the fall of the Taliban, a UN report showed today.

The report, issued by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, focuses on the "growing trend" of violence and sexual threats made against women in public life.

It reveals examples of targeted killings of professional women as well as a list of threats, discrimination, intimidation and harassment aimed at working women and their families.

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said: "The limited space that opened up for Afghan women following the demise of the Taliban regime in 2001 is under sustained attack, not just by the Taliban themselves, but by deeply ingrained cultural practices and customs.

"Despite a number of significant advances in terms of the creation of new legislation and institutions, there is a chronic failure at all levels of government to advance the protection of women's rights in Afghanistan," the she added.

Ms Pillay said attacks on girls' schools and female pupils threaten to have a "devastating long-term impact" on Afghan women getting involved in their society.

"There have been some encouraging incremental advances in the area of girls' education in recent years, and it is extremely important to have women participating in the country's political arena.

"But the Taliban and other conservative forces seem determined to take the country back to the Stone Age," she added.

The 32-page report shows a society where rape is widespread and victims are more likely than perpetrators to receive punishment.

It also suggests that information about sexual violence and rape is "anecdotal, incomplete and at times unreliable".

Researchers who worked on the report said that "rape is a widespread occurrence in all parts of Afghanistan and in all communities, and all social groups".

Government action is reportedly inadequate and in many cases the police and judicial officials are unaware that rape is a serious criminal offence.

The report identifies women who travel unaccompanied, those who have previously been subjected to sexual violence, widows, divorcees and women whose husbands are out of the country as those most likely to be targeted by rapists.

"Rapists include individuals who are entrusted as guardians or as care-takers of children and women, such as staff of prisons, juvenile rehabilitation centres, police stations or orphanages," the report stated.

Cultural norms sometimes aggravate the problem as rape is used to "dishonour" another family, tribe or clan over revenge for a previous crime.

"The Government has a duty to eradicate these harmful practices by making them illegal, educating its population and demonstrating leadership and commitment to safeguard the rights of all Afghan women and girls.

"The silence surrounding the widely-known problem of violence against the girls and women of Afghanistan must be broken," Ms Pillay said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable