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Kandahar leaders strategize on eliminating violence against women

AT-KANDAHAR: To eliminate violence against women, the support and participation of everyone in Afghan society, especially religious scholars and other community leaders, is crucial, participants said at an UN-backed symposium in the capital of the southern province of Kandahar, a statement from UNAMA said.

At the day-long event, attendees from civil society, religious leadership, academia, provincial justice offices and the department of women’s affairs discussed the state of violence against women in Kandahar and strategized on new approaches to addressing what many have characterized as an endemic problem in the southern region.

Although the Afghan government has taken steps to improve the welfare of women and eliminate gender-based violence through the Elimination of Violence against Women legislation, the situation remains unchanged for many women, especially regions of the country where harmful traditional practices still take place, the statement added.

According to statement, the event, which was facilitated by the Kandahar regional office of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), ended with participants calling for more to be done by everyone, and for the government to work with community leaders to help bring change.

“Violence against women in Afghanistan must immediately stop,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, in recent statement. “For Afghan women to achieve their full potential and their immense capacity in development, in peace and in security, the violations of the rights of women and girls, particularly through violence, must cease.”

One in every three women around the world has experienced physical or sexual violence. Gender-based violence is a global issue, affecting millions each year, particularly the most vulnerable, including Afghan women and girls. It is now widely recognized that violence against women, including harassment and harmful practices, is major barrier to women and girls enjoying their fundamental human rights, and is a direct challenge to women’s inclusion and participation in sustaining peace.

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, marked every year by the United Nations on 25 November, represented the start of the global campaign on 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. This year’s 16 Days theme, ‘Leave No One Behind,’ reflected the importance of the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which commits to eliminating all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres.

UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan as a political mission that provides ‘good offices’ among other key services. ‘Good offices’ are diplomatic steps that the UN takes publicly and in private, drawing on its independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading.

UNAMA also promotes coherent development support by the international community; assists the process of peace and reconciliation; monitors and promotes human rights and the protection of civilians in armed conflict; promotes good governance; and encourages regional cooperation.

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