United Nations: Afghanistan's Courts Don't Aid the Women Who Need Them


A new report released by the United Nations says that those who are most in need of a functioning Afghani judicial system—women who are victims of violence—receive the least amount of help from it, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The 35-page report, produced in cooperation with the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, is comprised of a series of interviews with 110 women across 18 of the nation’s provinces between August 2014 and February 2015. The vast majority of those interviewed chose to resolve their disputes through mediation rather than legal means.
Though the Elimination of Violence Against Women law, passed by presidential decree in 2009, criminalized 22 acts of violence, the U.N. found several factors that caused women to shun the court system.
Along with fears of corruption, including paying bribes to move the process along, women in Afghanistan, as in many other countries, felt they lacked a clear understanding of the legal process to know how the law would be applied to their cases.
Also, with increasing economic insecurity and unemployment in the country, women feared alienating or imprisoning the men who are most often the sole breadwinners of their households.

The article also points out that in addition to things like fear, “vague” laws and a lack of understanding of how the court systems work, access to the courts itself is a challenge: 80% of Afghanistan is rural.

Hopefully, the issues presented in the report will present themselves as a challenge for human rights’ workers to create solutions that better service Afghani women.

Image via AP

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