Violence against women in Afghanistan: everything stands in the balance

The coming year is the deadline for the foreign forces to leave Afghanistan. During the past 10 years of occupation Afghan women activists have campaigned for their rights through various channels and achieved to attract international attention to the situation of women in the country.

Now, on the brink of foreign forces leaving the country, everything stands in the balance. The rights stipulated in the law and the constitution are in jeopardy as the Afghan government is taking steps backwards to curtail them. The very presence of women activists is in great danger as violence against them accelerates. A number of women officials had been murdered and those who are meant to be in the public eye had to be moved to safer places as they had been threatened by forces who oppose the presence of women in the public.

International community which spent time and resources to change the lives of Afghan women must provide safeguards and guarantees to the rights of women activists and those women and girls who want to go to school and enter the social realm.

Violence against women at home and in the community is still rife and traditional practices and tribal customs prevail in many areas of the country, making it hard for women to have a say in their lives. There are a number of women who are well aware of the situation in the country and against all the threats are working relenlessly to empower the female population whenever possible, develop their capacity and be the voice of those who want to have their human rights protected in the future. It is up to the international community to incorporate women's rights in any agreement and deals which come into effect after foreign forces departure from the country.

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