Published On: Sun, Jan 5th, 2014

‘Cutting the nose, lips and ears’: Brutality against Afghan women at record level

AFP Photo / Shah Marai

AFP Photo / Shah Marai

Violent crimes against women in Afghanistan reached an unprecedented level of brutality in 2013, an Afghan human rights watchdog has announced as the US-led coalition prepares to withdraw.

Chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), Sima Samar, told Reuters that the pace and the hideousness of attacks on women intensified in 2013 with a 25 per cent surge in cases from March through September.

“The brutality of the cases is really bad. Cutting the nose, lips and ears. Committing public rape,” Samar said. “Mass rape… It’s against dignity, against humanity.”

The spokeswoman noted that as the withdrawal deadline draws near for international troops, women in tribal areas are less protected, leaving them vulnerable to violent assaults.

“The presence of the international community and provincial reconstruction teams in most of the provinces was giving people confidence,” Samar said. “There were people there trying to protect women. And that is not there anymore, unfortunately.”

She also noted that poor economic conditions and the lack of security are also contributing factor to the rise of incidents.
Other human rights workers are blaming the attacks and even killing of women on the absence of law in a country based on patriarchal tribal societies.

“Killing women in Afghanistan is an easy thing. There’s no punishment,” Suraya Pakzad, who runs women’s shelters in several provinces, told Reuters.

Citing the cases of public stoning, Pakzad said, that the future looks bleak for women’s rights in the country.

“Laws are improved, but implementation of those laws is in the hands of warlords… I think we are going backwards.”

In November, Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the Afghans to reject a proposal by the Justice Ministry that is assisting in drafting a new penal code that includes restoring stoning as punishment for adultery.

“It is absolutely shocking that 12 years after the fall of the Taliban government, the Karzai administration might bring back stoning as a punishment,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

“President Karzai needs to demonstrate at least a basic commitment to human rights and reject this proposal out of hand,” Adams added.

The draft legislature is seeking to introduce stoning for sexual intercourse outside a legal marriage, and stipulates that both man and woman shall be sentenced to “[s]toning to death if the adulterer or adulteress is married.”

It also states the “implementation of stoning shall take place in public in a predetermined location.” If the “adulterer or adulteress is unmarried,” the sentence shall be “whipping 100 lashes.”

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Source: Russia Today

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