UN agency ‘deeply concerned’ by increasing number of ‘honour killings’ in Afghanistan

1 Apr 2013

UN agency ‘deeply concerned’ by increasing number of ‘honour killings’ in Afghanistan

KABUL - The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) today said it was “deeply concerned” by recent media reports on the growing number ‘honour killings’ in Afghanistan, and called for more protection for Afghan women from violence.

In a news release, UN Women called on the Government of Afghanistan to take “a clear stand” and ensure that all cases of ‘honour killings’ are properly registered and investigated.

Across the world, the United Nations estimates that 5,000 women and girls are murdered and abused every year by relatives as punishment for a range of behaviours judged to have damaged the family reputation, usually because they are suspected of infidelity, pre-marital relations or defying the family’s choice of marriage partner.

In its news release, UN Women noted that three cases of such killings were recorded in as many Afghan provinces – Badakshan, Herat and Jawzjan – by the media and an Afghan civil society group during the month of March alone. They included a young girl buried alive by her brother and father, a 14-year-old girl killed for rejecting a marriage arranged by her parents, and a married woman killed by her brother for insisting on joining her husband in Iran.

“Violence against women is pervasive and seems to be increasing,” UN Women stated. “More than ever, Afghan women need protection from violence, the survivors of violence need support, and perpetrators have to be brought to justice.”

A report by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on the progress in implementing a four-year old law, known as the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) law and designed to protect Afghan women from violence, also found an increase in the number of incidents of honour killings.

Information UNAMA received from law enforcement agencies from September 2011 to October 21012 indicated the registration of 29 incidents of honour killings with the Afghan National Police, 39 with prosecution offices, and 27 with regular courts, according to the report ‘Still a Long Way to Go: Implementation of the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan,’ which was released in December last year.

UN Women said that over 4,000 cases of violence against women and girls were reported to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs from 33 of the country’s provinces between 2010 and 2012.

The UN agency’s representative in Afghanistan, Ingibjorg Gisladottir, noted that although government officials are implementing the EVAW law in many parts of the country, the world body was concerned that it was only in “a small percentage” of cases.

“Most cases are neither registered nor investigated,” Ms. Gisladottir said.

The 2012 UNAMA report said that implementation of the EVAW law continued to be hampered by “dramatic under-reporting” and a lack of investigations into most incidents of violence targeting women.

Click here to download the English version of the UN Women news release

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