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'Chastity' leading to women killings in Afghanistan

Oct 10, 2012

According to Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission (IHRC), of the eighty women killed in the past six months, sixty per cent of those were considered chastity cases.

Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has expressed concern over violence against women. IHRC drew attention to irresponsible punishments and desert trials of women and increased murders and rape of women.

Soraya Subhrang, in charge of support and development of rights of women at the IHRC told the press that during the past six months of the current year 80 women have been killed, sixty percent of which were considered chastity cases.

Attributing lack of rule of law, lack of awareness of responsibilities, non-safety and corruption as basic factors of such cases of violence, Soraya mentioned of 33 cases of sexual assaults most of the victims were the young women less than 18 years of age.

She added that the IHRC in order to find out precise factors, ways and to provide awareness in relations to sexual assaults and killing has started a national awareness program from the month of Assad of current year and it is expected that this program continue for six months and its detailed report along with proposals will be referred to the government.

Other members of the IHRC Abdul Ahad Ferzan stated that the above research has a national appeal form so all the organs and the media have to be organized in the struggle against violence.

In the meanwhile, reports have been coming in of the revival of the practice of baad, a traditional Afghani custom involving barter of women for the sake of resolving matters among families or clans. Baad was used increasingly during the reign of the

Taliban to arrange marriage between for settling disputes, mostly those that were criminal in nature. It was a way of avoiding an escalating blood feud which could cost many lives.

In the process, the woman, or often a young girl, found herself forced into marriage and bearing the lingering resentments of her in-laws. Human rights activists say the practice is a major cause of domestic violence.

With NATO combat forces due to depart from Afghanistan in 2014, aid groups are worried about a repeat of the vicious civil war of the 1990s and the condition of women in the country.

Some security and aid workers in the north, once a centre for anti-Taliban resistance and where most of Afghanistan's untapped oil and gas resources are located, say insurgents and other armed groups are preparing for a security vacuum after the exit of foreign forces.

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