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WOMEN'S UN REPORT NETWORK - WUNRN AFGHANISTAN WOMEN & GIRLS TODAY REALITIES & CHALLENGES United Nations Human Rights Council June 9, 2011 Geneva, Switzerland.

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Presentation on theme: "WOMEN'S UN REPORT NETWORK - WUNRN AFGHANISTAN WOMEN & GIRLS TODAY REALITIES & CHALLENGES United Nations Human Rights Council June 9, 2011 Geneva, Switzerland."— Presentation transcript:



3 At the refugee camp where an aid agency handed out flower, a mass of burka covered women waited for their names to be called. No faces could be seen, except for one fleeting moment when a girl, hovering between childhood and adulthood, took hers off to look at something more closely. As evening fell, a golden dusty light bathed the tents and reed matting with a splendor that hid every sign of suffering, for a moment. WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®


5 Hazara families living in makeshift homes along a mountain cave complex on the outskirts of Bamian. The Hazara are one of the larger ethnic groups in Afghanistan. Photo: Moises Saman for The New York Times WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®

6 Afghanistan Women's & Girls' Issues Addressed by the Women's UN Report Network - WUNRN _______________________________________________________________ *Violence Against Women in Afghanistan *Women's Human Rights - International Law & Domestic Law *Child Marriages of Girls *Forced Marriages *Political Participation of Women *Afghan Constitution & Gender Equality *Preference for Boys & Female Infanticide *Education for Girls & Women *Women's & Girls' Health in Afghanistan *Maternal & Infant Mortality *Crimes of Honor *Self Immolation by Girls & Women *Women's Economic Empowerment *Issues of Widows in Afghanistan *Women in Prison *UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace & Security WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®


8 CEDAW - AFGHANISTAN May 17, 2010 Human Rights Treaties Division Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights "As to your WUNRN inquiry on Afghanistan, we regret to inform you that Afghanistan has indeed not yet submitted its initial CEDAW Report which is due since 4 April 2004." ________________________________________________________________________ May 17, 2010 From Member of CEDAW Committee "We have a CEDAW Committee member from Afghanistan and are also told that the Government of Afghanistan is working on their Report." _________________________________________________________________________ WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®


10 AFGHANISTAN - CHILD BRIDES - FORCED CHILD MARRIAGES Afghanistan - Ghulam Haider, 11, is to be married to Faiz Mohammed, 40. She had hoped to be a teacher but was forced to quit her classes when she became engaged. WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®

11 AFGHAN DAUGHTERS AS 'OPIUM BRIDES' PAY THE PRICE FOR POPPY ERADICATION As Afghanistan battles to check growing poppy production, there thrives a disturbing trend behind the scene, where daughters of poppy producers pay the price for the unpaid loans owed to the drug traffickers. Termed as "opium brides", the daughters of poor poppy farmers are often given to drug traffickers if their fathers are unable to pay the loan taken for growing the illicit crop because of the official action. WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®

12 SAMIA, GIRL VICTIM OF FAMILY VIOLENCE IN AFGHANISTAN RAWA - Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan 7 year old Samia has a shocking story. She is one of tens of thousands of Afghanistan's girls who fall victim of family violence in the male-chauvinistic society where fundamentalists promote and support dirty misogynistic customs. WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®

13 STARVING AFGHANS SELL YOUNG DAUGHTERS AS BRIDES Villagers whose crops have failed after a second devastating drought are giving their young daughters in marriage to raise money for food. WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®



16 AFGHANISTAN WOMEN - PRAYING FOR PEACE - INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY A woman wearing a burka and holding her baby joins hundreds of others to pray for peace to commemorate International Women's Day in Kandahar City, one of the most volatile parts of Afghanistan. Despite the overwhelmingly female presence in the room, she wears a burka to protect her identity from the small number of men and members of the media in attendance. Photo Credit: Paula Lerner/Aurora WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®

17 Excerpts from Multiple Gender References in UN HRC UPR Outcome Report on Afghanistan: 4. Pay greater attention to the respect for women's rights when adopting legislative measures and abrogate all discriminatory measures against women. 6. Proceed with review of the Shia Personal Status Law, ensure that it conforms to international commitments and actively work to promote the rights of women. Date of Consideration: National report 1 : 1 Compilation of UN information 2 : 2 Summary of stakeholders' information 3 : 3 Outcome of the review : Report of the Working group : Addendum 1 : 7 May 2009 AA | C | E | F | R | SCEFRS A | C | E | F | R | SACERS A | C | E | F | R | SCEFRS AA | C | E | F | R | SCEFRS A | C | E | F | R | SE UN Universal Periodic Review Afghanistan WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®

18 EDUCATION FOR GIRLS IN AFGHANISTAN - A HIGH RISK CHOICE Afghan school children wait to enter their class rooms the Qalaai Sayedan School in Logar where classes resumed this weekend. (Joao Silva/NYT) WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®

19 AFGHANISTAN - ACID ATTACKS KEEP AFGHAN GIRLS AWAY FROM SCHOOL CLASSES KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) -- No students showed up at Mirwais Mena girls' school in the Taliban's spiritual birthplace the morning after it happened.Taliban's A day earlier, men on motorcycles attacked 15 girls and teachers with acid. The men squirted the acid from water bottles onto three groups of students and teachers walking to school Wednesday, principal Mehmood Qaderi said. Some of the girls have burns only on their school uniforms but others will have scars on their faces. One teenager still cannot open her eyes after being hit in the face with acid. WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®

20 AFGHANISTAN - GIRLS TARGETED IN THIRD SCHOOL GAS ATTACK Farzana, eight, recovers in hospital after she fell sick during a third apparent poison attack on a girls' school. The pupils were lining up outside their classrooms for morning assembly when one girl suddenly collapsed unconscious. She was among 90 Afghan school girls rushed to hospital yesterday unconscious and vomiting, possibly victims of a gas poisoning attack on their school in Mahmud Raqi village. WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®


22 AFGHANISTAN - CRITICALLY SERIOUS MATERNAL MORTALITY In Afghanistan, a woman dies every 27 minutes thanks to pregnancy-related complications. There are 1,600 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births but in the remote mountainous province of Badakhshan the rate is 6,500 per 100,000 – the highest recorded rate of maternal mortality in the world. Oxfam WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®

23 AFGHANISTAN: THE TRIBULATIONS CHILD BRIDES, CHILD MOTHERS KANDAHAR, 11 December 2009 (IRIN) - Rabia, 14, is expecting her first child almost a year after getting married to Haji Obaidullah, aged 49, as his second wife. “She is supposed to deliver in a few days, but this is her first visit to a health centre,” said Nazia Hemat, an obstetrician at Mia Abdul Hakim Hospital in the southern province of Kandahar. Rabia is fortunate in being able to visit the hospital: “Men often don’t allow their pregnant women to go to hospitals and doctors,” Ranna Tarin, director of Kandahar women’s affairs department, told IRIN. “We know young women die during pregnancy and at childbirth but we don’t know how many,” said Shamsuddin Tanwer, an official of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) in Kandahar, the country’s second largest city. Only 14 percent of births in Afghanistan are attended by skilled health workers, according to UNFPA. The risks are often not appreciated. Photo: Masoud Popalzai/IRIN WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®


25 AFGHANISTAN - DRUGS HOLLOW OUT AFGHAN LIVES – WOMEN & GIRLS In Kabul, Aziza smoked opium at home as her children watched. Men and boys are not the only people who have fallen prey to the drug; women and girls are merely harder to find. Typically, females, prohibited from wandering the streets, stay indoors, which mitigates their helplessness but shields them from help. WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®


27 AFGHANISTAN, RAPE VICTIMS BEGIN TO BREAK THE SILENCE The issue of rape in Afghanistan has remained shrouded Sobbing and barely able to speak, a teenage girl from Afghanistan’s northern Takhar province describes the horror of being gang-raped at gunpoint. “They raped me for three days and nights. I felt like I was going crazy," she said. "They forced me to drink alcohol. I couldn’t get up. They had guns, knives. They were so cruel and brutal. I screamed and cried, but they didn’t care.” Many others in Afghanistan have undergone similar ordeals. But the true numbers are not known, because victims and their families usually prefer to remain silent, fearing a lifetime of disgrace in their conservative society. WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®

28 AFGHANISTAN WOMEN PROTEST NEW RESTRICTIVE SHIA FAMILY LAW Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images for The New York Times About 300 Afghan women, facing an angry throng three times that number, walked the streets of the capital to demand that Parliament repeal a new law that introduces a range of Taliban-like restrictions on women, and permits, among other things, marital rape. WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®


30 AFGHANISTAN - INTERNALLY DISPLACED WOMEN & CHILDREN Credit: NRC Fierce fighting between NATO troops and insurgents in southern Afghanistan has sent tens of thousands of people fleeing from their homes in a new wave of displacement. Although numbers are unverified, the government said that more than 20,000 families had been displaced due to the fighting in the provinces of Helmand, Kandahar and Uruzgan as of November 2006. In addition to this new wave of displacement, some 132,000 people – most of them displaced since 2001-2002, remained in relief camps as of September 2006. Most are Kuchi nomads who were forced to leave their home areas due to drought, but appear to be prevented from return by a combination of factors, including protection concerns in return areas. WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®

31 AFGHANISTAN - HUNGER - WOMEN & CHILDREN - UN In this Nov. 24,2009 photo, a severely malnourished baby named Nureema waits for treatment in her aunt Rabia's arms, in a feeding center run by the U.N. World Food Program in Aqcha, Afghanistan. The World Food Program and UNICEF have launched a project to feed thousands of mothers and children — some too weak to cry. Aid workers hope a high-protein diet distributed through a network of village clinics can help them through the winter. WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®

32 CAMPAIGN OF 5 MILLION AFGHAN WOMEN FOR RIGHTS, EQUALITY, POLITICAL PARTICIPATION The Declaration of Commitment to Afghan Women Five Million Afghan Women Campaign-4 th August 2009 According to the constitution of Afghanistan and national and international treaties, one of the important social rights of human beings is to determine their political future (the right to elect and to be elected), but unfortunately in Afghan society the women are facing many problems in order to use their rights. Considering the time constraints in presidential and provincial councils’ elections, among the society there are growing concerns over participation of women in the election process. WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®

33 AFGHANISTAN - SECURITY A CHALLENGE FOR FEMALE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CANDIDATES 01 July 2009 Two female contenders for the Afghan presidential elections complain that the deteriorated security situation challenges their campaigns. Shahla Atta and Frozan Fana, the only two female presidential candidates, urged the Afghan government to provide a satisfactory security situation to enable them to launch their campaigns on the outskirts of Kabul city. “I cannot visit the districts because of the serious security threat,” expressed Shahla Atta about her concerns over the situation that limits her ability to campaign. Taliban militants have intensified their attacks, reaching a record level in Afghanistan ahead of the country’s presidential and provincial council elections. WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®

34 AFGHANISTAN - WIDOWS - POVERTY - DISCRIMINATION Afghanistan has the one of the highest populations of widows in Asia, according to government officials. (Photo: Akmal Dawi/IRIN) WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®

35 Poem Tribute to Young Afghanistan Woman Flogged to Death Sue Silvermaria I stand by your ear unseen. Before the flogging they buried me to my waist in mud One hundred times and one, they beat me with a cane Because I was wearing a burqa the mullah was spared the sight of my blood When my family took me home I was unconscious They were forbidden to seek treatment When I died the next morning no one was surprised. It was three days after my 18th birthday..... WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®

36 AFGHAN GIRLS - FUTURE OF AFGHANISTAN – HOPE FOR PEACE & RIGHTS Global: A Circle Of Change In Afghanistan By Ziana Qaiser Massachusetts (Women's Feature Service) - There's a Pashto proverb which means 'Drop by drop, you make a river.' And that's what inspires Circle of Women, a young, non-profit organisation based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that is dedicated to educating girls in developing countries. By building one school at a time, the Circle of Women aims to make education available to every girl who wants one, with the belief that this is the best way to support positive, global change. "Circle of Women feels that it has the opportunity and privilege of position to empower women in countries where gender equality is not an established right," says Megan Dempsey, founding member. Project Wonkhai - their first undertaking - is a girl's school in Wonkhai, a village in Afghanistan's Wardak province. This school is almost complete and will open its doors to as many as 1,200 girls at the secondary level in March next year, when the Afghan academic year begins. WOMEN’S UN REPORT NETWORK WUNRN®

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