Women used as "slaves" in shelters
Tuesday, 27 September 2016 03:31 Written by Heart of asiaIn addition to alleged corruption and dictatorship in the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), claims have surfaced recently that women are being exploited as slaves in the safe houses.
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Having stayed in a safe house for five months in Kabul, a resident of southern Helmand province, Horia Popalzai, told The Heart of Asia that AIHRC has treated her as a slave.
"I have been subjected to oppression and unfair treatment for five months at the shelter. They were beating me every day because I did not have a care taker, and all women were subjected to hard labor. For example, they forced me to wash over 20 carpets in a day in Ramadan," Horia complained.
Many women in these shelters were also used for “sexual purposes”, and no one would turn a blind eye to it, Popalzai alleged, adding women whose relatives were coming to the shelters to ask after them were subjected to less repression, while those with no one to inquire about them were treated very badly even more than slaves.
According to her, she approached the Commission to complain about the maltreatment, but she was told to find a caretaker because she would not be allowed to live forever in the safe house.
The shelters were only for women who intended to get a divorce from their husband, and want another husband; other women were not assisted, she maintained, explaining that: "After my father died, my brother, Bashir, brought me along with my mother and sister to Kandahar. Since my brother was working as an interpreter in Shurab airport, my uncle who was a Taliban commander killed him, and arrested us. Because of torture, my sister committed suicide, and I fled to Chaman in Pakistan, where I got married to a person who also died. After staying for two years there, the Pakistani police handed me over to Afghan police who transferred me to Nangarhar and then to Kabul, where the Human Rights Commission sent me to a safe house."
The mistreatment in the shelter impelled me to commit suicide by setting herself on fire in the middle of the city, she concluded.
Nooria, another woman who has visited a shelter, disclosed to The Heart of Asia, "Those in charge of the safe houses are taunting and forcing women to do hard physical work inside and outside the shelters. Even there are some rumors that women are being used for sexual purposes.”
Though the AIHRC supervised the shelters, there were brazen violations of human rights, she claimed.
The Heart of Asia contacted Rafiullah Baidar, a spokesman for AIHRC, but he hang up after hearing a question about the issue, and did not pick up the phone after several attempts.
One of the major criticisms about AIHRC is that its officials have been involved in corruption for the past 14 years, but the government is yet to fire them.
Well-placed sources told The Heart of Asia that both the president and the Chief Executive Officer had promised Seema Samar, the head of AIHRC, to remain in her post for three more years.
>>> READ ORIGINAL ARTICLE on Heart of Asia
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