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Amnesty International on women’s rights

Amenity International, a leading global rights watchdog, slammed the national unity government in its recently released report. The reported titled “Their Lives on the Line” released on Tuesday said the government has turned its back on human rights activists particularly in a time when they face targeted assassinations, harassments, and sexual assaults. The Amnesty International Secretary General in Kabul, Salil Shetty, lamented that this government’s inattention has left women’s rights defenders in a state of helplessness where they fend for themselves. Since 2001, the country has made phenomenal achievements in regard to human rights, but the case of Farkhunda—a 27-year old woman, killed by a mob gone insane over allegations of burning a copy of Qura’an and increase in rape and kidnap cases have brought a biggest question mark on the government performance and record on human rights. During presidential campaigns, both President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah promised phenomenal political representation for women. After winning the 2014 Presidential elections, Ghani in his victory speech said he will give women prominent roles in his government and told the nation that women’s role is important for country’s future. The remarks by President Ghani came a day after the historic power-sharing deal signed by the two presidential candidates. Now that Amnesty International has released its report on women’s rights plight, one wonders why the current government didn’t honor its promises. Or since we are a highly patriarch and male-dominated society where even most of highly educated men are swayed by a typical mindset, which is driven by centuries-old repressive culture against women? When the international watchdog has also gave vent to its concerns regarding women’s rights, now the government should come into movement and it should be ensured that victims of domestic violence, rape, harassment shouldn’t be given any space to circumvent the law. In the case of Farkhunda just must be done as she has become a women’s rights symbol in the country. If the government fails in delivering justice in this particular case, human rights gains made during the past 14 years will cave in. As Afghanistan is a signatory of the UN charter on human rights it will have to live by it and must ensure that human rights particularly women rights are protected at all costs. We are not living in isolating from the rest of the world and when other nations are making gains in every walk of life, why should we fall behind? To ensure human rights are well protected, the government should implement the 2009 Elimination of Violence Against Women Law in true sense. The law needs to be implemented. A cursory sight at the history of human rights gains makes us feel that many of women MPs have either remained silent or voiced some weaker concerns over women’s rights issues. As a new government has been formed, the nation desperately looks forward for changes and an uninterrupted human rights progress. How the government deals with case of Farkhunda will tell whether the government does what it says or it’s trying to bank upon mere lip service.

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