The number of women and girls in Afghanistan imprisoned for “moral crimes” has risen by 50% in the past 18 months, a rights group says.
Human Rights Watch says many are jailed for running away from home, often from forced marriages or domestic violence. Others are behind bars as a result of alleged adultery, in truth often involving rape, it said. The government should “get tough on abusers of women and stop blaming women who are crime victims”, said HRW.
It said 600 women and girls were now imprisoned for “moral crimes” – the highest since the US-led overthrow of the Taliban 12 years ago.
About 110 of those were girls under 18.
Human Rights Watch’s alert comes just three days after angry scenes in the Afghan parliament forced a halt to a debate about reinforcing a law to prevent violence against women. The law banning violence against women, child marriages and forced marriages was passed by presidential decree in 2009, but did not gain MPs’ approval.