Human rights violations among women in Afghanistan
There are several human rights abuses that are perpetuated in Afghanistan that makes the country rank very poorly among the nations of the world when it comes to human rights issues. Of greater concern in the context of this essay are the abuses that are directed towards women within the country. The abuses are numerous and are encountered on a daily basis in almost all aspects of the life of an Afghan woman. Most of these violations are brutal and cruel, yet others are subtle and suppressive to the women right from the tender ages.
The abuse directed toward women need to be tackled with urgency and at all levels within Afghanistan and even from the outside countries that see the situation in Afghanistan as a dire situation. This essay discusses the human rights issues and the moral aspects of the country that are misconstrued to suppress women. The poor governance that perpetrates these evils each passing day with evils like forced marriages, rape, wrongful indictment and even slavery being directed at women.
Historical perspective to human rights issues among women
There are several women who have played a significant role in the shaping of the history of this country. Some have even died trying to defend the rights of Afghanistan women and some have been subjected to inhumane conditions for the same roles. There are as well women whose actions have been taken for treachery and treason but all add up to the meaningful course of fighting for the rights of women.
As early as 1880s there had already been scramble to help emancipate women from the suppression that they were subjected to by the systems that were male chauvinistic. Indeed, as Library of Congress Country Studies, (1997) indicates, one of the key reasons to the fall of the reign of King Amanullah in 1929 was the push for gender equality and the resistance that was put fort by the system. This resistance elicited sharp reactions from the masses that saw the substance in the equality push and hence joined hands in the overthrow of the regime. This was followed by the more friendly government of Daud Khan in 1959 that allowed the voluntary removal of the veil by the women. This set a precedence of many women getting into the public and social arena in a bid to ensure their dignity and respect is upheld just like any other citizen of that country. This trend however faced a lot of challenges till the late 1990s when the debate was rekindled and women were urged to take up more challenging duties and roles within the society and to shun the slots that were traditionally reserved for men. Here, the women in Afghanistan began to view their sexuality in the positive light instead of the reverse and began questioning the male domineering habits and ability to make decisions.
Alleged crimes used to suppress women
In Afghanistan, there are numerous 'crimes' that are specific to women alone and are taken to be serious among the religious groups and even the governance of Afghanistan. According to the Human Rights Watch, (2012) there are hundreds of women in Afghanistan that have been jailed over crimes that are alleged to be 'moral crimes'. These are basically rules that have been constituted by men or men chauvinistic organizations with an aim of keeping women under their control and suppressed within the society. These crimes are like;
Running away- this is an offense that has attracted prison terms for hundreds of women in the country. This is scenario where a woman leaves the home without the permission of the husband or at least a male relative. This is a crime under a specific article of the penal codes of the country (Now foundation, 2012).
Speaking in public- it is an offense for a woman to speak in public in Afghanistan especially with regards to opinionated subjects that objects or questions the decisions or wisdom of men. This is one of the rules that were put in place by the Islamic extremists Taliban government that took power by force in 1996. The Taliban instituted sexist system and policies which they emphasized that were or the Islamic religious observance.
Leaving husband- is yet another moral crime for which women are jailed within the country. There is no justification under their rules for a woman to leave the husband even if she fears fro her life. Ironically men are allowed to give divorce to their women and even to be polygamists.
There are several other controversial policies that the Taliban governance have imposed on women of Afghanistan like a complete ban on women working anywhere outside their husband homesteads. The women are also not allowed t o deal with male shopkeepers, women cannot be treated by male doctors, ban of women or girls attending the formal education system and instead they have taken over most women school facilities and turned them to Islamic religious study points.
The women are also prohibited from shaking hands or talking to males who are not their relatives or close family relations existing. Indeed if a woman is found 'guilty' of sexual sin with a man not their husband, then they are stoned to death without further questioning or investigations.
Women are also instructed never to wear any kind of perfumes, they cannot under any circumstance wear thin clothes that expose their body features, they must not wear narrow clothes, and the clothes that they wear cannot in any way resemble those of men or wear clothes that resemble those of non-Muslim women. If they choose to wear ornaments on the feet, they must not produce any kind of noise neither should their clothes. Women are also not allowed to walk in the middle of the streets (Amnesty International, 2010). These are just some of the restrictions and suppression that women in Afghanistan face on a daily basis.
In 1979 the government of Pakistan set a very bad precedence by adopting the Zina ordinance that engraved the penal Code into the Islamic principles hence mixing governance and religion and the product has been a suffering women population.
There was a reprieve however recently in March 2012 that was seen in place by Predident Hamid Karzai to the run away crime, and this was on condition that the woman who runs away from their parents homes to go marry the person they feel is ideal for them or they love and indeed got married to them, then the punishment meted on women who ran away without male oppression hitherto would not be visited upon them.
For a good number of years there has been a problem of torture and even rape against women. There have also been incidences where women who cannot bear children are killed (Bowley, 2012).
According to CBS News (2003), the judiciary system in Afghanistan has made little effort to salvage the situation, instead playing to the tune of the rulers that ascend to power however detrimental their policies are. CBS notes that well over 400 women are behind bars for the crimes that are petty and some are indeed not crimes at all like 'running away'. In most cases the judiciary system looks more at the criminal and overlooks the victim of the crime which more often is a woman. There have been promises during campaigns of upholding human rights and dignity but there are fears all over Afghanistan that the current president, Hamid Karzai would abandon the earlier promises of protecting human rights since he is noted to be in talks with the Taliban for peace.
There have been informal and inhuman kinds of retribution used against women like cases girls being poisoned or raped just for going to school…