Illiteracy and poverty are impeding women victims of violence from registering cases against their perpetrators in the justice system, underscored participants at a UNAMA-backed event in Afghanistan’s central province of Bamyan.
The event, held in Bamyan’s Yakawlang district in the west of the province, was set up by the regional office of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) to identify these challenges and highlight recommendations from a recent UN report on women’s access to justice.
The report documents the experiences of 110 Afghan women victims of violence and identifies challenges they have faced. Participants at the event, attended by religious scholars, women’s rights activists and community leaders, urged the government to ensure full implementation of the recommendations in the UN report.
Those recommendations include adopting legal, institutional and policy reform to protect Afghan women facing violence; strengthening the capacity of the criminal justice system to protect victims; and applying the 2009 Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) more effectively.
“For women, illiteracy and lack of awareness about their rights are the main causes of vulnerability,” said Ruqia Naziri, the head of the Yakawlang’s Women’s Council, during the event. “They don’t know their rights and they don’t know where to complain.” Sharing similar views, another event participant, school teacher Nazifa Akbari said poverty and economic dependency are the main factors making women vulnerable. “Women keep silent and endure any sort of violence mainly due to economic dependency,” said Mrs. Akbari.
UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and relevant international and local non-governmental organizations to assist in the full implementation of the fundamental freedoms and human rights provisions of the Afghan Constitution and international treaties to which Afghanistan is a State party, in particular those regarding the full enjoyment by women of their human rights.