The State of Legal Rights and Security: A Case Study of Afghan Women’s Rights
Afghanistan has experienced almost three decades of continuous conflict, which has undermined the physical and sexual security of Afghan women in rural as well as urban environments. In a historical analysis, rape prevalence and sexual violence are directly related to ethnic conflict and warring factions. The International Coalition has exacerbated the problem of warlord-dominance in the countryside by utilizing Northern Alliance militias in the “War on Terror.” These militias have records of extensive human rights abuses and war crimes, including the perpetration of systemic rape campaigns for ethnic-cleansing. Human rights abuses force Afghan women to live in terror.1 Sixteen-year-old Nazia's family wedded her to a forty-year-old man, Mumtaz, in September 2007.2 Two weeks later, her husband beat her for no obvious reason. 3 Mumtaz had become suspicious that Nazia met other men secretly, so he beat her until she fainted.4 He tied her down and broke her teeth with a stone.5 He poured boiling water on her feet.6 When Nazia subsequently did not cook dinner for him because she could not stand, he tied her up and beat her again.7 While enduring the violence, she felt an excruciating pain in her left and right ears and tasted blood flowing down her face.8 Mumtaz had cut off her ears and her nose with hisknife.9 Nazia's story, told from her hospital bed in Qalat,Afghanistan, 10 serves as an example of the plight of women in Afghanistan11 and the human rights violations targeted atwomen.12 Human rights abuses against Afghan women occur daily.13 Women face punishment such as public whippings, stonings, and imprisonment for inadvertently exposing their ankles or for wearing brightly colored shoes.' 14 Although Afghanistan's current constitution,15 and the international treaties 16 to which Afghanistan is a signatory, enumerate equal rights for women and men, 17 poor law enforcement, lack of awareness about women's rights,and conservative traditions 18 prevent the promise of equal rights from becoming a reality.19 Despite these guarantees of women's fundamental rights, significant challenges remain for Afghan women in terms of implementing the constitutional provisions, and reconciling the more conservative and male-dominated aspects of Afghan society with culturally pragmatic conceptions of gender equality.20 The 2003 Constitution also requires that Afghanistan abide by international conventions that it has signed,21 including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women ("CEDAW"),22 yet Afghan women and girls continue to suffer from entrenched discrimination throughout the country.23 As a result, Afghanistan is currently a haven for severe human rights abuses against women and girls.24 Women are the victims of discrimination and human rights abuses because Islamic societies often interpret human rights for women to conflict with Islamic law. 25 Afghanistan is one of these societies.26 Despite equal rights for women and men written in the 2003 Constitution, Afghan women are not afforded rights equal to men in practice, and they presently live in terror. 27 This comment addresses gender rights in Afghanistan, focusing on continuing human rights violations28 despite Afghanistan's international treaty obligations 29 and prohibitions against discrimination in the 2003 Afghan Constitution.
A member of the Bamyan Provincial Council, Wahidi Beheshti, is accused of killing a young girl named Shakila on January 22 this year in his own house in Bamyan province. She had been raped by Beheshti and then killed with a gun of his bodyguard. Beheshti’s family claimed Shakila had committed suicide; however forensics proved that she had been killed. Wahidi Beheshti denied any involvement in the matter but the police had also said that Shakila had been killed...
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