Afghanistan is a country that has been historically well known for its great literature, culture and arts and with good landscape (Kandiyoti 121), despite that, the area has been widely known for the big number of Afghans who die or live desperate lives since violence are the order of the day in the country. No special interventions have been seen to either challenge or condemn such inhuman acts of violence. The human rights activists have a responsibility to ensure that human rights are respected at all costs. The culture of impunity has undermined democratization and generated a cycle of violence in the region (Kandiyoti 122). Stakeholders need to promote justice and the rule of law in order to build a conducive environment for respecting human rights. Throughout history, women and young girls have suffered a great deal due to many forms of violence that they have been exposed to.
Violation of human rights of Afghan women
The studies of Hesford and Wendy show how violence has remained pervasive in Afghanistan. It has been widely spread in various parts of the nation. Violence against women is quite rampant and openly witnessed as well as common. Violence which has affected a number of lives of a large population of Afghan women and young girls is deeply rooted in the Afghan culture, attitudes, practices and customs (Hesford & Wendy 2005). Their freedom to get out of some traditions and norms has been greatly limited. Afghanistan women are being subjected to the violence that comes with armed conflicts which have been common over centuries and are having a great negative impact on Afghan civilians. Violence, in its worst form, renders widespread criminality and lawlessness.
In the American journal written by Reisman, there is an indication that violence against Afghan women is greatly known but a problem that is not understood well. Women and girls of Afghanistan have little enjoyment of their human rights. There is a great abuse of womens human rights which are being used to test the legitimacy of Islam for political and power reasons (Reisman 868). This political struggle that seek to determine status and role of women in Afghanistan has motivated a great divide between the rural and urban, or the modern and the traditional, which becomes the core factor that shapes the afghan politics (Reisman 868). Moreover, impunity that has been deeply entrenched in the afghan society harbors and propagates the culture of power abuse and has greatly made it difficult for human rights of afghan women to be respected (Reisman 869). The great misuse of womens rights in the region includes being traded in the political deals context and a justice that has a transactional approach.
Afghanistan has experienced decades of armed conflict, with widespread violation of law, poor governance and insecurity (Merry 58). These factors continue to have a significant impact on the fate and status of afghan women frustrating the efforts to promote women empowerment and emancipation. The common war outbreaks since the 1978 armed conflicts have shown how the associated events have been harmful and dangerous to women (Merry 58). For instance, the Soviet period was characterized by great tribulations that caused massive population movement that in turn triggered a lot of negative impacts for the poor people in the rural areas and the agrarian livelihoods that included vital irrigation systems. The rights and freedoms of afghan women were severely limited. Serious human rights abuses included sexual violence, extra-judicial executions, displacement, abduction, forced marriage and torture. This period can be described as one of the darkest times in the life history of Afghan women.
The fate of afghan women is being shaped by outdated and harmful traditional customs and practices, most of which precede the Islamic culture. The practices and perspectives have been used as a tool to suppress women, restrict their freedom of movement, subject them to all kinds of violence and greatly violate their fundamental human rights. Afghans, men and women have been devastated by ineffective, informal and incredible justice systems, widespread impunity and political turmoil that characterize the armed conflicts that have been there for decades. Poor insecurity levels have caused great fears for personal safety and have caused detrimental effects and hampered the efforts to fight against the deeply rooted discrimination against women. Consequently, womens participation in the public life of the nation remains inhibited. Cases of rape are prevalent in Afghanistan and this call for a stern action to be taken against these perpetrators.
Research done by Steiner and Ryan Goodman has shown that Afghan women for a long time have been subjected to an environment that is increasingly insecure and not conducive. Women who attempt to participate in public life receive harassment, threats and dangerous attacks. In some cases, there have been killings on women who get jobs that are viewed as having disrespect to the Islamic traditional practices (Steiner & Ryan Goodman 123).Prominent afghan women have been killed and others threatened through phone calls that order them to leave their jobs lest they harm their children. They are also threatened with night letters, and are verbally abused (Steiner & Ryan Goodman 125).
According to Watkin & Kenneth studies, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan produced statistics in 2013 that revealed that the number of killings on women in the country had made an increment of 20% compared to the previous year (Watkin & Kenneth 35). The majority of women killings were associated with traditions, domestic violence and the culture of the country and women activists were being targeted deliberately. Who are the defenders of human rights for women in Afghanistan? These are men and women who are committed peacefully in the promotion and protection of nationally and internationally set human rights of girls and women (Watkin & Kenneth 38). Some men have also come out to fight for the respect of human rights but there is lack of recognition and acceptance for their significant contribution. Women activists and human right defenders have become targets not only because of what they say and do to promote women rights but also because of what they have become in the public life context (Watkin & Kenneth 38). These women are seen violating the religious, cultural and social values that concern the role and responsibility of women in the society regardless their professional qualifications or political level. This increases their vulnerability to kinds of gender-based violence such as sexual violence. It further limits their freedom of movement.
It is quite evident that lives of a great number of Afghan women and girls face serious criminal and violent acts. There is denial for an effective course of justice for crimes that are perpetrated against them with their fundamental rights being neglected. Despite having some hope on the efforts made by men to support women on their rights, nothing good seems to come forth. A great number of women have suffered in the hands of inhuman brutality. According to them, human rights are just standards, values and entitlements that are just theoretical and sometimes, not even found on papers (Smith & Vaux 47). It is of great necessity and urgency for the government of the day in Afghanistan to partner with the civil society and other stakeholders to come up with effective leadership and show a tremendous will to roll back the violence phenomenon that has devastated the lives of women in the country (Smith & Vaux 47). The government must take up its responsibilities of protecting and respecting the rights of her civilians especially those of women. This will include an efficient course of justice through prosecution of women violence perpetrators in Afghanistan (Smith & Vaux 47).
The repression of women is still a challenge in Afghanistan and a number of factors have contributed to the problem (Mertus & Benjamin 101). First and foremost, the government of Afghanistan has the ultimate responsibility to protect the human rights of women defenders safety. It has failed in its obligations to offer protection to protect them and come up with an appropriate remedying strategy to counter all forms of human rights experienced in the region. The systematic security and law enforcement agencies failure to respond to various threats and doing investigations on the attack incidents that have been reported by the defenders of human rights have made it hard to fight the challenge (Mertus & Benjamin 101). Policies and laws alone cannot bring any social transformation; the government of Afghanistan ought to show the moral and political will to ensure that human rights obligations are fully implemented with a financial backup from different donors (Mertus & Benjamin 105).
Another hindrance to the respect of womens rights in Afghanistan is the failure to access a formal course of justice, especially in the rural regions. Hesford and Wendy Kozol studies show that 80% of the countrys population depends on traditional mechanisms of solving disputes due to ineffective and corrupt justice system in the country (Hesford & Wendy 211).A number of reports indicate that the relevant authorities have greatly failed in their mandate to investigate and prosecute those involved in inhuman actions such as sexual violence. This factor has propagated the culture of impunity in the country and made justice to be a nightmare for victims of women violence and other forms of human rights abuse (Hesford & Wendy 211).
Human rights advocates are present in every society to help uphold the rights of each citizen. In Afghanistan however, the efforts of the advocates for human rights of women have been threatened through intimidations and attacks in their fights against the violation of women rights. The politically powerful women have been killed (Raif, 4). The education for Afghan women is still minimal, leaving a large number of the women illiterate and unaware of their rights. Girls at the age of ten are still being married of to older men and are socially oppressed. Some of the girls after marriage are forced to go into prostitution by their families and if they refuse, they are punished severely, to the extremes of being locked up in a basement, to having the nails pulled off (Horia, 15). The country is male dominated and it is hard to gain support for women rights creating a big problem for the activists. When a woman speaks out about her issues, the society tells her that she is not well behaved and thats why she suffers (Margaret, 26). The women end up being blamed for their oppression and suffering, making it hard to talk about women issues in the Afghan society. The society believes that the implementation of women rights is western driven and hence, it is difficult for the organizations fighting for human rights for women to gain support.
Afghanistan women continue to be abused domestically, be trafficked as well as be married forcefully calling for more support from the rest of the society to protect them from these forms of violence. In Afghanistan, the men in the society believe highly in the Koran and consider domestic abuse as a way of following the Koran, even if they are illiterate and do not understand it. They men feel threatened by the human rights for women activists and blame them claiming that they are provoking their women to turn against them. Even the educational curriculum discriminates against the women as they are rarely use women as positive examples (Raif, 32).
The Afghan society has also played a big role in the repression of women. A womans place is strictly in the family for the appropriation of their sexual...
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