Sunday, 22 November 2015

Weak rule of Law behind Afghan Women's lack of access to Justice

Speaking at a conference on women's access to justice, a number of rights activists and officials said on Sunday (22 Nov 2015) that government's weakness in terms of rule of law was the reason for women not having proper access to justice.
According to delegates, women living in areas under the Taliban's control have markedly less access to justice to those in other areas. Women's rights activist Zahra Sultani said: "Government's weakness in the judicial sector and the culture of impunity, a lack of government effort to address cases of violence against women and public executions by insurgents are reasons why women have less access to justice."
Meanwhile, university professor Mohammad Amin Ahmadi said: "Besides other challenges, government's weakness in rule of law is one of the main obstacles in quest to ensure justice for women. The first step should be for government to ensure rule of law, especially in insecure areas, and ensure the rights of citizens."
However, officials from the Interior Ministry and Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs acknowledged the shortcomings in terms of ensuring women's rights.
Hekmat Shahi, the head of the human rights department at the MoI, said: "Unfortunately insurgents want to sabotage achievements made over the past 10 years. The government's first step should be to ensure security in order to make sure its citizens rights are upheld."
Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs officials said old beliefs among people are the main reasons for violence against women. Most violence is being carried out by influential people, they said.
An increase by Taliban in public executions, executions of women based on local and traditional reasons and the lack of access for women to judicial institutions are key reasons for women not getting fair justice.
Within the past month, two serious cases of violence against women have occurred. The first incident saw Rokhshana, a 19-year-old Ghor resident stoned to death while last week another woman died from her injuries sustained during a public lashing. This incident also took place in Ghor.

READ MORE: In Afghanistan, women face entrenched harassment
Woman in armour protesting against
sexual harassment in Kabul 
In Kabul, a city of more than 6 million, women and girls complain of sexual harassment in their daily lives — on the streets, in the workplace and at school. The President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani spoke out on the issue, saying Afghan women are subject to "shocking" levels of harassment and ordering the Education Ministry to report every incident in the nation's schools.

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