Afghan Activists Reject Minister’s Claims of Prostitution at Women’s Shelters

Posted June 18th, 2012 at 12:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Afghan women's rights activists are rejecting allegations by a government minister that shelters aimed at protecting women are instead used for prostitution.

Justice Minister Habibullah Ghalib said Sunday the safe houses run by non-governmental organizations, so-called Peace Houses, have become brothels. He said, “we saw and investigated the Peace Houses, there isn't any immoral activity that is NOT present there. That's what you call a Peace House?”

Rights groups hit back Monday — calling the minister's comments irresponsible. Afghan Women's Network member Asila Wordak questioned why Ghalib did not forward his claims to the relevant government commission. She noted he is a member of Afghanistan's High Commission for Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Wordak demanded the justice minister to apologize.

There are around 14 shelters in Afghanistan that house domestic violence victims.

The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission has recorded more than 3,100 incidents of violence against women this year.

Rights groups say some Afghan officials accuse shelters of corruption and other immoral behavior, because they oppose such facilities and the idea that women can leave their homes on their own.

Under Taliban rule in the 1990s, women were not allowed to get an education, go to work or even leave the house without a male escort.