The National and international Media rottenly report violence against women. The rights of women and children are under violation in Afghanistan and the status of women gone from bad to worst.
In fact, women’s rights were always practiced as a political tool by different belligerent factions to achieve their political and ideological goals. Women have been under extreme violation, such as rape, forced marriages, sexual harassment, street harassment to beatings and physical violence both at the time of Taliban and even today.
According to analysts, violence against women indicates that the government had better be accountable in the fight to protect the rights of women. Their reports also request from the national and international NGOs particularly from the international community to keep on their support in protecting the rights of women and children in Afghanistan beyond 2014, as the transition is in progress which will change the whole structure of government and the status of women after the withdrawal of U.S. and its allies from the country.
Perhaps, the recent report of a woman who was killed by her husband for giving birth to a baby girl is the best evidence of all. It was almost three weeks back that a man with his mother living in the province of Kunduz wrapped a rope around the women’s neck and strangled her to death.
The worst of all was the horrifying news image of only 15-year old girl who was brutally locked in a basement and tortured by her husband for more than six months with no food or water. Forcing her to become prostitute was running in every news channels and headings of newspapers throughout the world. The silence of government was also amusing for taking no helpful action to bring these criminals to justice and punish them for their belligerent acts.
There are hundreds and thousands of such cases of violence against women and children going on in every corner of Afghanistan by their closed family members, like their husband, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law and other members of their relatives which goes unreported.
The claims that the status of women are developed and that they are free of discrimination and violence seem very hopeless. Objectively speaking, women in Afghanistan are limited to their homes. They are restricted from working outside or going to a doctor without a man. They are simply considered to be only for home chores and child nourishment, while everyone of use proudly claim by reciting the holey verses of Qurran that both men and women are entitled to equal rights and opportunities.
To empower women and make sure that women are free of discrimination, violence and torture, there are several national and international organizations working in Afghanistan, helping women and children to become self-reliant and enable them to fight for their rights themselves by conducting various training and workshops to spread awareness among local elders, religious Scholars and other stockholders to stop violence against women and that both men and women are entitled to equal rights, to working opportunities and to allow them participate in decision making at local, provincial and country levels.
In response, ActionAid an international anti-poverty organization with HAWCA (Humanitarian Assistance for Women and Children in Afghanistan) on February 06, 2012 have launched a three year project in 5 districts of Herat province to eradicate violence against women called “A Holistic Approach to Address Violence against Women”.
The project was initiated by Mr. Mohammad Anwar Matin representing the Provincial Governors office in Herat, Mr. P.V. Krishnan, the country director of ActionAid Afghanistan and other key personalities from the department of women affairs and other various national and international media outlets.
This project is funded by Italian cooperation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from the government of Italy. The project is going to be implemented by ActionAid in partnership with HAWCA.
According to Mr. Krishnan majority of the rural women in Afghanistan are the ultimate victims of violence and discrimination. The so-called fragile achievements for the women in last one decade after the establishment of democracy in the country, the real status of women and girls are still in a breakable form.
The dream for a peaceful, prosperous, democratic and stable Afghanistan wouldn’t be achieved unless the women are marginalized and insecure. Highlighting the situation of women in Afghanistan, he added that it is not that we have a moral imperative to help the Afghan women to become more empowered or more western, we belief that as long as violence, injustice and inequality rule the lives of Afghan women, the country wouldn’t witness stability, prosperity and progress. This instability creates huge gap for insurgents and their so-called allies to thrive, which has national security repercussions for the United States and indeed, for the entire planet.
In this regard, Mr. Anwar Matin urged the government and other national stockholders to maintain their support and cooperation. He emphasized that ActionAid and HAWCA will keep continue their commitments to contribute to peace and nation building by addressing the main problems faced by women in their daily life.
He also added that Afghanistan is in a serious need of support from both the national and international NGOs and from the international community to keep on their support in building the status of women, children and youth in Afghanistan since they have remained the most deprived part of the nation.
Above all, the event marked the end of a week training to 50 young women from 50 villages who will be acting as Community Facilitators to end violence against women at grassroots. While Acknowledging the graduates from the training program, member of Attorney Department and Herat Governance Department distributed certificates to the trainees and wished them success in their endeavor to make villages more peaceful by empowering the women and girls.
The Article First Published in Daily Outlook Afghanistan Group of Newspapers on February 18, 2012