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EVAW Law’s frailty

The citizens of this country, whether man or woman, have equal rights under the law, but in practice the matter is quite different. They have right to education and to work, under the constitution. But is this true in practice? Given the current situation, endemic superstitious beliefs, and misogyny, we don’t discern any critical hope that their status will improve and they will get equal rights. When the constitution ensures equal rights why their rights are encroached? Who is responsible and who is supposed to be addressing the issue? This is the government’s responsibility to ensure and protect women’s rights. During the past decade, the government has introduced a number of legal instruments to safeguard women’s rights. The Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) Law-2009, is the most outstanding one, which criminalizes many traditional practices because of their anti-women nature, but the government has miserably failed in its true implementation. Still women are being stoned to death. Still they are not allowed to work. And still they are not permitted to have access to education. Still their right of decision-making is being eroded, but the government thinks the paper-based law is the panacea to all the evils. Resultantly there is an enduring culture of impunity for crimes against women and abuses of women’s rights. Every year, Afghanistan International Human Rights Commission (AIHR), report thousands of cases of violence against women. Forced marriages, sexual assaults, physical and psychological violence are some of the worst forms of women’s rights violation. Finally the women’s affairs and human rights commission of the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of the Parliament) urged Tuesday that all government offices must implement EVAW law in an attempt to scotch women’s rights abuses. According to a female attorney, Hasiba Amini, the surge in violence against women in the provinces is linked to failure of the government to implement the law. Besides the government even there are problems in our society. For instance, those women who come forward, defy the cultural and social restraints, and speak and pursue available opportunities are risking their lives. They are accused of being western agents. There is a widely held scorn against such women, which speaks volumes about the widespread misogynic view by men. The need is to detoxify the brains of men, to challenge centuries-old patriarchal mindset to enable them to see without distortion and free of prejudice. Since EVAW law bans twenty-two different abusive practices against women, including physical violence, child and forced marriages, rape, and denial of rights to education and work, therefore, the law needs to be implemented in letter and spirit so that a biggest portion of our population could sigh in relief and get their fundamental human rights. The government should also arrest those who stoned Rukhsana—a 19 year old girl. Since she was not the daughter of a political leader that’s why her pitiful cries didn’t unleash fury and government actions. The nation has not fully come out of the shock caused by lynching of Farkhunda, who was beaten to death by a mob in Kabul’s Shah-e-Dou Shamshera area, which is not far away from the Presidential Palace and Ministry of Justice.

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