On Saturday, 14th April 2012, members of Young Women for Change (YWC) in Afghanistan were joined by other youth in a walk to protest against violence against women.
YWC members wore national Afghan clothing for their 'walk for justice'. The Afghan National Police provided security and media representatives also attended the walk.
The following statement was prepared by Young Women for Change and read aloud outside parliament:
In the Name of the Almighty who Created all Humans Equal
Since Nawroz, New Year, at least five women have been killed in Afghanistan. Three women were killed in Herat, one of whom was beheaded by her husband. Another woman was killed by her husband in Khost and another was hanged after the unjust decision of the tribal court in Paktya. Halima, 17, was nearly beaten to death by her husband.
In addition to this in 2012, the most brutal cases of violence against women were reviled in Afghanistan.
The cases above are just some examples of violence against women in Afghanistan.
The Human Rights Commission in March 2001 reported 1026 cases of violence against women. That number has grown to 2700 cases in 2012. Most cases of violence are not in the record and are never heard of. While the Elimination of Violence against Women law passed in 2009 has banned beating, killing, torture, rape and other kinds of violence and has set specific punishment for those who commit these crimes, the criminals are rarely punished. In reality, in some cases, women are the ones who goes to jail for the crime they did not commit.
Islam and the constitution of Afghanistan is puts emphasis on social justice and equal rights. Islam is a religion that banned and stopped people from burying their daughters alive, and injustice and brutality against women. But five women were killed in the span of 2 weeks in an Islamic republic and there is no sign of justice. Islam emphasizes on love between couples but in an Islamic country, when a husband kills his wife, her Islamic and human rights are forgotten and nobody is ready to maintain justice. According to the Constitution of Afghanistan, women and men are equal, but in practice a women who has been raped is imprisoned while the rapist enjoys security and freedom. In the same country, a 9 year old girl is raped by her uncles and justice is silent.
We, the women and men of Afghanistan who want equality and justice, demand from the people’s representatives, who represent the men and women of Afghanistan, the Ministry of Justice, that is responsible for creating a just environment for men and women in Afghanistan, and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, which must protect the rights of the same women who are brutally tortured, that they should no more forget women and when crimes like these happen in front of their eyes, they should remember justice and humanity and raise their voice.
As the voice of millions of women across the country, the following are Young Women for Change’s demands:
We demand advocacy from Afghan men. Men, fathers, husbands, and brothers: until when are you going to sit silent when these crimes happen? Until the day a woman from your own family is hanged, cut into pieces, burned, swarmed with bullets, imprisoned or killed? Injustice to one woman is injustice to all women, including your female family members. Raise your voices!
The Afghan women and men of conscience will never forget these crimes. We will never stop fighting for implementation of justice and equality in this country.
With Hopes of Justice and Equality!
Young Women for Change
Young Women for Change is an independent non-profit organization consisting of dozens of volunteer women and male advocates across Afghanistan.
It was established to empower women across Afghanistan and recruit them to the struggle for gender equality.