Conflicts & War

Towards dark future: ‘Afghan women’s sufferings have multiplied’

Kabul, Nov 25 (EFE).- Afghanistan has one of the highest rates of violence against women globally and has further increased due to restrictions, the United Nations said Thursday, after the Taliban takeover in August.

On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW), the United Nations in Afghanistan called for concrete actions to end violence against women.

Since taking control of Kabul on Aug.15, the Taliban have allegedly imposed severe restrictions on women and girls.

Apart from healthcare workers and a few other isolated exemptions, women cannot return to work or travel in public without a male guardian company.

Since Sep.20, girls above 12 (grade six and above) have not been allowed to go to school, while rigid gender segregation at universities has severely curtailed women in higher education.

In startling figures, the UN Assistance Mission In Afghanistan (UNAMA) noted that globally, 1 in 3 women had experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner.

But in Afghanistan, 9 out of 10 women have experienced at least one form of intimate partner violence in their lifetime.

And the situation has worsened.

A UNAMA statement said the violence against women and girls in Afghanistan had increased further due to restrictions on their rights and freedoms.

The statement in particular underlined the curbs in women’s right to work and their freedom of movement.

“While the need for services have increased, access to essential services for survivors of violence has been greatly impacted,” the statement said.

The UNAMA urged the global community to listen to the voices and experiences of Afghan women and girls and urgently respond to their needs, especially survivors of violence and those who face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination.

“The message we receive from our partners and women across the country is clear – violence against women that was already at alarming levels, has been exacerbated by both crisis and Covid-19,” UN representative in Afghanistan Alison Davidian said.

“And yet, lifesaving services for women survivors of violence have closed on account of fear of being targeted,” said Davidian.

The UN said that women and girls living in fear held back all past and current efforts for peace and sustainable development necessary for Afghanistan.

In a related statement, Amnesty International called on the global community to stand by its long-term commitment to support women’s rights in Afghanistan.

The rights group is beginning a new campaign highlighting the achievements of 16 remarkable Afghan women.

“These stories offer a powerful and timely reminder of just how far Afghan women had come over the past twenty years, in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. They also provide a sobering insight into how life has transformed for women and girls since the Taliban’s return,” said Samira Hamidi, Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner.

Amnesty called it “astonishing” that these women and thousands more like them were being barred from public life when the country was facing an economic and humanitarian crisis.

“We urge the Taliban to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of women and girls. We call on the international community to engage directly with Afghan women to understand their reality, listen to their pragmatic recommendations, and work with them to support women’s rights.”

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