Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, June 21st, 2018

Afghan Women Remain Distant from Justice

Women in Afghanistan are kept distant from their basic rights and from access to justice. As per a recent report, Injustice and Impunity: Mediation of Criminal Offences of Violence against Women, released by United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Afghan women’s access to justice remains insufficient to an extreme level. The report has found: “The report’s findings, including details indicating unchecked impunity in honor killings and the murder of women, signals that justice for Afghan women victims of violence remains severely inadequate… The use of mediation in criminal cases serves not only to normalize violence against women but also to undermine confidence in the criminal justice system as a whole.”
The report highlights the important point that the existing legal framework and court adjudication processes in Afghanistan provide options for women facing violence, and emphasizes that mediation cannot replace the judicial protections provided to women by the constitution and laws of Afghanistan. However, violation of rights of women and violence against them are frequent in Afghanistan under such mediations.  
For Afghanistan the rights and empowerment of women and access of justice for them have always remained an issue. As the country has suffered from instability and wars, many other sectors and issues have been neglected by the authorities. The issue of weak or no governance has been the most dominant one. There are many parts of the country that remain unattended even today. The law and order system and the access of justice in such parts of country are almost inaccessible. In the absence of formal courts and justice system, the vacuum in such places are filled by traditional courts and verdicts that, in most of the cases, violate the rights of women.
In Afghanistan, though, a so-called democratic government has been formed, it has failed to carry out a democratic governance system. The power still remains with the powerful warlords and selfish leaders and they have failed to make the system work for the poor masses. In fact, the lives of the common people have remained unchanged to a certain extent. Meanwhile, the weaker strata, particularly women, have paid a very high price as a repercussion.
Afghan authorities need to make serious commitments about women as women in this country have not been empowered as much as they should be. Women in Afghanistan have been undergoing discriminatory behavior for decades now. The religious extremism and obsolete tribal values have been vehemently responsible for violation and violence against them. Even though, they have been echoing their concerns, they do not seem to get as much attention as possible in the patriarchal Afghan society.
As a matter of fact, the male-chauvinistic ears are not ready to hear them though they feel their vibrations clearly. Nevertheless, the efforts in this regard must never be given up and they should continue in every possible way. One of the ways to rise up and be counted in the social and political life is to strive participating in the social and political institutions and processes. And, this is not the responsibility of a particular faction of society, not a particular stratum, not even a particular gender but of all those human beings have some concern and some love for human rights, the ones who believe in dignity of human beings and their existence without any differentiation of gender.
Particularly, men can play an imperative role. Though they have been mostly responsible for the discrimination, modern men can now change their attitude and commit themselves to make the difference. Fighting the discrimination and violence does not necessarily mean that women alone should shoulder the responsibility. There should be efforts to bring about changes in the attitude of men towards women; otherwise, fighting for the rights of women would be very difficult.
In similar fashion, the different institutions, functioning in the society must also fulfill their responsibilities and they must ensure that there should not be biased policies and attitude against the women. Their policies and practices must never be inclined towards discrimination and injustice on the basis of gender. Not only the women rights organization but different other social, political and administrative organizations can have a part in making sure that women are properly compensated within the system and are not neglected on the basis of prejudice.
In the countries like Afghanistan, the religious and tribal institutions can also play tremendous role in uplifting the position of women and giving them the status they deserve. As most of the people are religious and tribal, they can easily be motivated by such institutions for better and higher purposes.
It is important that the efforts regarding women rights do not end only in conferences and celebrations by certain organizations and individuals but in resolute commitments and most importantly practical efforts for the rights and empowerment of women. Proper implementation of Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law can be a great start; however, that would require serious and committed efforts from the authoritative sections of the society.