UN rights expert condemns recent killing of women in Pakistan, Afghanistan

UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women Rashida Manjoo on July 18 urged the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan to end violence against women and to initiate investigations into the recent killings of two women. Fareeda Afridi, a human rights defender in Pakistan [Federally Administered Tribal Areas], was recently shot dead by two men when she was walking to her office. The second case involved a public execution of a woman [22 years old and identified only as Najiba] accused of adultery in Afghanistan [at an unidentified location north of Kabul]. [The report also noted the slaying of Hanifa Safi, local head of the Ministry by a roadside bomb in Laghman province.] Manjoo stated that such violence against women amounts to "State crime when tolerated by public institutions and officials—when they are unable to prevent, protect and guarantee the lives of women, who have consequently experienced multiple forms of discrimination and violence throughout their lifetime."

In her report [PDF] on violence against women in various countries, Manjoo concluded that measures taken by states to address gender-related violence against women have failed. She cited lack of social transformation, absence of rights-based discourse, and prevalence of sex and gender discrimination as causes. Manjoo provided six recommendations: (1) ensuring effective investigations, prosecution and sanctions; (2) guaranteeing access to adequate and effective judicial remedies; (3) treating women victims and their relatives with respect and dignity; (4) ensuring comprehensive reparations to victims and their relatives; (5) identifying certain groups of women as being at particular risk when adopting preventative measures; and (6) Mmodifying the social and cultural patterns and eliminating prejudices, customary practices and other practices based on the idea of the inferiority or superiority of either of the sexes, and on stereotyped roles for men and women.

From Jurist, July 19. Used with permission.

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Afghanistan: 100 lashes for teenage girl

From Amnesty International, Sept. 20:

Afghanistan: 100 lashes for teen shows why climate of violence against women must be tackled
The flogging in public of a 16-year-old girl by a local mullah in the southern Ghazni province of Afghanistan for an “illicit relationship” with a boy is abhorrent and testifies to the precarious situation of women and girls in Afghanistan, said Amnesty International.

The girl was sentenced to 100 lashes on 16 September, which was carried out in a verdict issued by three Mullahs in Jaghori district of Ghazni province.

It has been reported that the Afghan Parliament’s lower house – the Wolesi Jirga – has initiated an investigation into the brutal and unlawful assault on the teenager.

"Flogging, whether in public or not, constitutes cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment", said Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty International’s Researcher for Afghanistan.

"Such punishment is outrageous and is forbidden under national Afghan and international law. The fact that the girl in question is only 16 years old only makes this case even worse"

"The parliament's decision to investigate this case is a great first step. Now the Afghan authorities must follow up and ensure that all unsolved cases of violence against women get the same treatment."