Afghan Parliament Summons Officials to Talk about Violence against Women

On January 14, the Women’s Committee of the Afghan Parliament summoned the Ministers of Interior, Women's Affairs and Haj and Religious Affairs along with a number of law enforcement officials to discuss the trends in violence against women in Afghanistan and what was being done to curtail them, ToloNews reports:

Along with the Ministers, the Chairman of the Central Investigation Department of the Supreme Court and the [H]ead of the Special Prosecution Office for Cases of Violence Against Women took part in the discussion.

According to human rights and women's empowerment groups, 2013 saw a spike in violence against women, challenging the common thought that conditions for women in Afghanistan were headed in one direction and one direction only - progress.

Amrullah Abdali, from the Central Investigation Department, said [that] insecurity was proving the biggest challenge preventing the department and other law enforcement officials from executing their duties properly.

"In cases of violence, our sessions are completely public and public hearings are different based on security situations," Abdali said. "It is obvious that if there is security, the judge will, according to the law, hold the session in public and will not deny doing that."

Interior Minister Omer Daoudzai said that the lack of legal consequences being enforced upon perpetrators of violence against women in Afghanistan was a fault of the police in some cases, but also often came down to the local communities themselves, which in the more remote areas are heavily autonomous.

"The shooting of the couple in Baghlan province was really a failure of the police, [but] it was also a problem of the two tribes," Daoudzai said. "The police did not man[a]ge the issue properly and did not act decisively to prevent the incident."

Women Affairs Minister Hassan Bano Ghazanfar focused on the growing rates of violence against women in the country coming out of last year.

"It is only an excuse that the evidence has not been completed or the case is not […] completed yet, it is unacceptable for us," Ghazanfar said regarding the procedural explanations often given to justify why women's violence cases go unaddressed.

The head of the Special Prosecution Office for Cases of Violence Against Women in Kabul, Qudsiya Niazi, said that in just the past few years, the office registered more than 8,000 incidents of violence against women.

"We had 484 cases of violence in Kabul alone," Niazi said.

By the end of the meeting, the [H]ead of [the parliamentary committee], Fawzia Koofi, said that the efforts made by the responsible intuitions had been inadequate in addressing cases of violence against women.

While strategies for better tackling the issue of violence against women and women's rights in the Afghan legal system were discussed, some in attendance were skeptical [whether] much progress could be made [as] long as there were powerful individuals within the government itself who oppose women's empowerment and support violence against women.


Originally published on

Photo by United Nations Photo.

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