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Afghan women demand visible action against sexual harassment

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: Afghan women welcomed the establishment of the law against sexual harassment of women at workplace, urging the government to strictly implement the law to overcome sexual harassment across the country.

Afghan Women News Agency (AWNA) has interviewed a number of women in different organs, who asked the government to practice the law against sexual harassment of women at work place.

“Law against sexual harassment of women at workplace should not remain on the paper, serious intention in governmental organs is required to implement the law,” said Head of AWNA Humaira Saqeb.

She said the government showed that it had intention to adjudicate women’s rights, but it is essential to step up efforts for implementation of law against sexual harassment.

“Each citizen is responsible to force government for implementation of law against harassment throughout the country,” she added.

Minister of Women’s Affairs Dilbar Nazari said that great achievement was gained in the past two years to support women, but it was not enough and more work should be done.

She said that sexual harassment of women at workplace is a serious challenge and the relevant organs are requested to establish stable legal framework to address the issue.

“Efforts are needed to empower women economically as well as provide them with educational facilities to reach to the goal.”

Nazari stated that awareness campaign must be run to increase people’s information about the law against sexual harassment of women at workplace and increase sexual harassment against women.

Head of Women Committee in the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House) of Parliament Fawzai Kofi said that prison punishment and cash fine was considered for those who break the law and harass women.

She said that although Afghanistan prison is not at the level to reform the criminal, but cash fine and imprisonment are the punishment included in the law in order to reduce sexual harassment against women throughout the country.

According to reports, 92 percent of Afghan women experience at least one time a type of sexual harassment.

As Afghanistan is mostly a conservative society, sexual harassment at the workplace is one of the main impediments to female participation in the workforce. In governmental and nongovernmental organs, there are several reports of verbal and physical harassment and blackmailing. The use of authority to coerce for sex was also reported in some cases.

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