Kabul — The UN mission in Afghanistan on Sunday criticised authorities for poor implementation of a landmark law to protect women, 12 years after the repressive Taliban regime was ousted from power.
Donor nations, led by the US, point to the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law as a prized symbol of the success of the international effort in Afghanistan since 2001. But a report released by the UN said that prosecutions and convictions remained low under the 2009 law, which criminalises child marriage, forced marriage, forced self-immolation, rape and other violence against women.
“Implementation has been slow and uneven, with police still reluctant to enforce the legal prohibition against violence,” Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said. “Afghan authorities need to do much more to build on the gains made so far in protecting women and girls.”
The report comes amid fears that as the NATO-led military mission prepares to withdraw by the end of next year, religious conservatives are seeking to increase their influence and undermine advances in women’s rights. The report said that of about 1,670 registered incidents of violence against women in 16 provinces, only 109 cases — seven percent — went through a judicial process using the EVAW law.
Many cases were resolved through informal mediation, which often fails to protect women from further violence, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said.