5 September 2012 - A nationwide awareness raising campaign on “Police Taking Action to Combat Violence Against Women and Girls in Afghanistan” kicked off yesterday with the aim to support and improve capacity of the police officers, who would subsequently ensure rights of the victims. Joint UNFPA-EUPOL press release in English – Dari – Pashto
The campaign was launched at a ceremony in Kabul jointly by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the European Union Police Mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL), in coordination with the Ministry of Interior Affairs and the Attorney General’s Office.
“This awareness campaign is part of a long-term commitment between UNFPA, EUPOL and the Ministry of Interior Affairs in order to improve the situation relating to violence against women in the country, particularly focusing on the training of police and prosecutors to prevent gender-based violence and extend all possible legal and humanitarian assistance to the victims,” said Dr. Laurent Zessler, UNPFA Afghanistan Representative, while addressing the ceremony.
He emphasized on the need for communities to break their silence on issues relating to violence against women and girls.
“All the measures should be put in place in order to have the field police officers well equipped in order to address cases of violence against women and girls throughout the country.”
Gen. Mirza Mohammad Yarmand, the Deputy Minister for Administration in the Ministry of Interior, said “significant progress” has been made in combating violence against women and girls.
He informed the audience that 165 units for solution of family problems have been set up throughout the country at the police station level and that the number of staff in the Gender and Human Rights Unit of his Ministry has been increased to 477.
Mr. Yarmand said that 475 suspects have been were tried under the Afghan laws. In addition, the Directorate of Operations in the Ministry of Interior and Police Centre of 119 (for any emergency case or rescue) also deals with cases of violence against women, he added.
The EUPOL Head of Mission, Karl Ake Roghe, while addressing the gathering, said the European Union in is engaged in a series of projects aimed at assisting the development of both police and Attorney General’s Office in fighting targeted violence against women.
“These projects include providing training and mentoring our Afghan counterparts on elements such as investigation techniques, victim friendly interviewing, crime scene investigations, evidence collection and forensic examination,” said Mr. Roghe.
On the occasion, the Deputy Attorney General in Administration and Public Affairs, Abdul Wakil Amini, informed the gathering that special prosecution offices for elimination of violence against women would be established in 34 provinces of the country by the end of next year.
He said that during the last two years, 1,370 cases of violence against women were handled by the Special Prosecution on elimination of violence against women within the structure of Attorney General’s Office, out of which majority were decided by the courts.
The Chairman of Parliamentary Committee on Women’s Affairs in Wolesi Jirga (the Lower House), Fawzia Kofi, said, “It is not necessary that only the victim of violence report the complaint, it is the duty of every individuals to report to police if they see any case of violence against women.”
She stressed upon raising public awareness on elimination of violence against women and better planning to deal with the root causes of violence such as poverty, conflict and traditional customs.
“The female police should not be used only for body search but should be appointed on key positions within the structure of Ministry of Interior,” Ms. Kofi demanded.