AFGHANISTAN: WomenŽs Hopes for Equality Fade + Comment

Friday, July 23 2010

Women in Afghanistan continue to face an uphill struggle to gain
equal footing with their male counterparts

Women´s rights have fallen down the agenda behind countering a growing insurgency, tackling opium production and confronting endemic corruption.

"Day by day the government´s support for women´s development fades," said Hangama Anwari, a member of Afghanistan´s Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC).

However, the Afghan government insists it is making progress towards gender equality despite there being just one female minister in the cabinet... and many female parliamentarians who say the powerful lawmaking institution has been systematically dominated by men who oppose gender equity.
While the Taliban are condemned for their treatment of women, the AIHRC recorded more cases of violence against women in the capital, Kabul, and in the western province of Herat than in Kandahar - once a Taliban stronghold.

"There are likely to be numerous unregistered cases of violence against women," said Dr Suraya Subhrang, women´s rights commissioner at AIHRC.

A comment by Janet M. Eaton:
The ousting of Ms. Malalai Joya from Parliament and the threats on her life demonstrate that there is a systemic resistance under the current regime in Afghanistan to increasing women´s participation in government and public life and Ms. Joya´s removal is a case in point.

Ms. Joya´s case further demonstrates that women in Afghanistan are being denied the right to free speech. Ms. Joya was removed from Parliament for publicly criticizing other member´s of the legislature. Also indicative is the fact that Zakia Zaki, an "outspoken" and prominent female Afghan journalist was shot dead on June 6, 2007 and that Sanga Amach, a 22-year-old news presenter with a private television station was murdered a week earlier.

The global community must raise this issue with President Karzai and take immediate steps to ensure the safety of Ms. Joya.

Full report at:\?ReportId=70569

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