UN Urges Afghanistan to Implement Law Eliminating Violence Against Women

Posted March 7th, 2012 at 5:25 pm (UTC-5)
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The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and U.N. Women on Wednesday urged the Afghan government to fully and promptly implement the law on Elimination of Violence Against Women .

Georgette Gagnon, Director of Human Rights for UNAMA, said that “as long as women and girls in Afghanistan are subject to violence with impunity, little meaningful and sustainable progress for women's rights can be achieved in the country.”

Gagnon added that “ensuring rights for Afghan women — such as their participation in public life, including in the peace and reconciliation process and equal opportunities in education and employment — requires not only legal safeguards on paper, but speedy and full enforcement of the EVAW law.”

The call by UNAMA came on the eve of the International Women's Day and a day after Afghan President Hamid Karzai backed a “code of conduct” issued last week by a group of clerics. The document issued by the Ulema Council allows husbands to beat their wives under certain circumstances and encourages segregation of the sexes.

The document has no legal authority, but the president said it reflects the Islamic values that most of the country observes. The United Nations estimates that 90 percent of Afghan women suffer some form of domestic abuse.

A new report released by the Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization finds that women's rights are increasingly under threat as international troops prepare to leave the country.