‘Illiteracy, poverty obstructing women’s access to justice in Afghanistan’

Illiteracy and poverty are obstructing women’s access to justice in Afghanistan, women’s rights activists said at an event in central Bamyan province.
 
The event, held in western Yakawlang district, was organized by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) to identify challenges and highlight recommendations from a recent UN report, Justice through the eyes of Afghan women, released in April this year.
 
The report released by the UNAMA and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) identified several factors that enable or hinder women’s access to justice in cases involving violence.
 
The report documents the individual experience of 110 women in Afghanistan who were victims of violence and who sought justice through judicial and non-judicial mechanisms, including mediation, between August 2014 and February 2015.
 
The event was attended by religious scholars, women’s rights activists and community leaders, who urged the government to ensure full implementation of the recommendations in the UN report.

The event was attended by religious scholars, women’s rights activists and community leaders, who urged the government to ensure full implementation of the recommendations in the UN report

The recommendations include civil remedies, strengthening the capacity of criminal justice system to protect survivors, regulating mediation through common standards, and applying the 2009 Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women.
 
“For women, illiteracy and lack of awareness about their rights are the main causes of vulnerability,” said Ruqia Naziri, the head of women’s council in Yakawlang. “They don’t know their rights and they don’t know where to complain.”
 
Nazifa Akbari, a school teacher, said poverty and economic dependency are the main factors making women vulnerable. “Women keep silent and endure any sort of violence mainly due to economic dependency,” said Ms. Akbari.