Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Plight of Women in Afghanistan

The plight of women in Afghanistan.  This is what Tom A. Peter reports in the Guardian

  • Nearly half of all women in Afghan prisons are being held for "moral crimes" such as running away from home or adultery, according to a report by Human Rights Watch.
  • In almost all cases of the imprisonment of women who fled their homes to escape abusive situations those responsible for the abuse did not face any legal actions, while the victims faced prison sentences.
  • Afghanistan is the only country in the world that interprets sharia law to prohibit women from running away from their home without permission.
  • In one case described by the HRW report, a woman named Souriya Y was given away for marriage at the age of 12 to resolve a family dispute. Her husband was abusive, but her father encouraged her to be patient. Nine years into the marriage, her husband accused her of running away and having sex with one of his enemies. Souriya told HRW she saw the man she was accused of running away with for the first time in court and says her husband made up the story to get rid of her and shame his rival. She was convicted and sentenced to five and a half years in prison.
  • 87% of Afghan women reported experiencing physical, psychological, or sexual abuse or forced marriages.
  • With a legal system that often punishes women for reporting violent crimes against them such as rape or abuse, a number of women do not speak up for fear of facing judicial reprisal.
  • an Afghan woman named Gulnaz was imprisoned after she was raped by a relative. After the case received international attention, the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, offered Gulnaz a pardon but she told reporters that she planned to marry the man who raped her to avoid social problems associated with having a child outside of wedlock.
  • Only 12.5% of Afghan women are literate, and campaigners say that it remains a challenge to educate women about exactly what rights they possess.
  • Karzai has publicly supported a decree by the Ulema Council, a government-sponsored group of religious leaders, that said women are worth less than men, should not leave the house without a male escort, or mix with men at school or the workplace.


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