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Femicide rate increases by 49pc: AIHRC

Human rights commission reports 119 cases of honor killing in 2015

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said that 241 cases of women killing have been reported in 2015 which reveals 49 percent increase in rate of femicide across the country.

“Out of 241 murdered women, 119 were victims of honor killing. They were killed by family members and kin under the pretext of protecting their honor,” Commissioner for Women’s Rights at the AIHRC told Afghanistan Times.

Soraya Rahim Sobhrang said that women killing cases increased by 49 percent in 2015 as compared to previous year. The AIHRC reported 162 cases of killing in 2014 in the country.

“Out of 241 killing cases only 72 cases were prosecuted. Offenders in other cases are enjoying impunity or made safe exit,” she said, adding that poor disposition of femicide cases sparked concerns and hopelessness.

According to the commissioner, 119 cases were committed under the pretext of protecting family’s honor while the rests were related to target killing. They were killed by armed dissident at the objective of taking revenge.

She said that totally 5,132 violence cases against women have been reported by AIHRC in 2015 which reveal 5.32 percent increase as compared to previous year. Around 4,874 violence cases were registered by AIHRC in 2014.

Women were killed brutally; their limbs were cut off and burnt. It is too much painful and a tragedy to see or hear such reports, Sobhrang lamented.

She said that Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) Law was not implemented in true letter and spirit. The expectations were ignored and hurt. The commissioner insisted that the law must be revised and sexual assault should be defined.

The women’s rights commissioner furthered that currently there is no clear definition of sexual assault as in forced rape cases both male perpetrators and female victims are punished in the country. “There is no law or mechanism in the country to support the victims in the rape cases,” she said.

Reasons behind violence are clear. The AIHRC has recommended that the government should hold cultural efforts, fight corruption and impunity culture, implement laws in true spirit and cope with the violence issue across the country.

She said that special attorney offices must be established to quickly process cases related to domestic violence.

She termed lack of female attorneys as another challenge for women. “A woman victim will not trust a male attorney. She will never narrate her ordeal to a man as they are shy. They can tell everything but only to a female attorney.”

The government must appointed female attorneys in all provinces to provide more judicial facilities to women, she suggested.

Criticizing the government, the commissioner said that the government was too busy in security and peace related issues and had totally ignored increase in cases of violence against women. “The government shall pay equal attention to the problems of women. They are part of this country and society.”

It is pertinent to mention that the AIHRC has informed of increase in violence cases against women when different governmental and non-governmental organizations held symbolic programs in order to mark the International Women’s Day across the country.

In late January, Ministry of Women’s Affairs said that in collaboration with the Supreme Court it has started registration of marriage and distribution of marriage certificate in order to protect women’s rights.

“In order to reduce violence against women, the ministry is taking steps to register all marriages and provide certificates to the couples,” said Minister of Woman’s Affairs Delbar Nazari.

She said that marriage certificate would help women to have access to inheritance rights. “Those women who do not have marriage certificate will be deprived of their rights, particularly from inheritance or property rights,” she added.

Nazari said that her ministry approached Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs to educate people regarding registration of marriage as the society is conservative, adding that it is essential to bring awareness among people to lead the process towards further success.

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