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Home | Editorial | Ending violence against women

Ending violence against women

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Ending violence against women
 Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in today’s world.Such violence impacts and impedes progress in many areas, including poverty eradication, peace and security. 
Therefore, UN leads the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign, which aims to raise public awareness and mobilize people everywhere to bring about change. Those 16 days go from today, 25th November to 10th December every year, which is Human Rights Day. 
The theme of the campaign for 2017 is “Leave no one behind: end violence against women and girls.” This theme reinforces the UN Campaign’s commitment to a world free from violence for all women and girls around the world, while reaching the most underserved and marginalized, including refugees, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, and populations affected by conflict and natural disasters.
Afghan women have been highly vulnerable throughout the history. Afghanistan’s patriarchal systems and unfair traditions pressured women in one way or another. They were deemed as an inferior creature and treated as pariahs. Their social, cultural, and political roles were curtailed on a large scale. Despite the democratic and human rights discourse, after the downfall of the Taliban’s regime, violence against women continue unabated. 
Under-aged marriage is one of the serious issues in Afghanistan and it is considered violence as well. According to the United Nations, more than 46 per cent of Afghan girls get married under the age of 18 and more than 15 per cent under the age of 15, which is contrary to the country’s civil law.
Afghanistan’s First Lady Laura Ghani had earlier called the early marriage a tragic issue and to prevent the early marriage, the government had constituted a national working program,aiming to spread awareness and empower young women. 
Reforming the laws and penal codes, improving the judiciary, aligning the Elimination of Violence Against Women law more closely with Afghan criminal law, criminalizing rape and redefining it in a way that dissociates it with , building awareness of the plight of girls and women, and facilitating attitudinal shifts toward a more gender balanced society are all imperative.
Meanwhile the incidents of violence against women will keep on occurring unless, the justice system, strengthened by strong and authoritative institutions, take tangible actions against the culprits. 
The criminals always take advantage of the justice system that is lethargic and an inefficient justice system would keep on creating more and more criminals. Therefore, it is important for Afghan authorities to divert attention towards institution building for providence of justice to all the people of country, particularly women who are treated as a weaker stratum. 
If a justice system is not able to protect the most vulnerable and the weakest, it cannot be believed to be based neither on democracy nor on basic teachings of Islam.
Moreover, the religious scholars should enlighten the rights and dignity of women based on the true spirit of Islam and the negative aspect of violence.
In addition to scholars, the civil society activists and the Human Rights’ Independent Commission who are the de facto advocates of women’s rights should also spare no effort to provide an environment free of any violence to women in the country.

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