Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

Treating Weaker Strata!

The rights of women and children are supported by International Community, and violating their rights means disobeying one of the international instruments that are Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly and Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) adopted in 1989 – which addresses the particular needs of children and to set minimum standards for the protection of their rights.
The CEDAW defines discrimination against women as “...any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.”
By accepting the Convention, States commit themselves to undertake a series of measures to end discrimination against women in all forms, including:
To incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women; to establish tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination; and to ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises.
The Convention provides the basis for realizing equality between women and men through ensuring women’s equal access to, and equal opportunities in, political and public life - including the right to vote and to stand for election - as well as education, health and employment. States parties agree to take all appropriate measures, including legislation and temporary special measures, so that women can enjoy all their human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The Convention is the only human rights treaty which affirms the reproductive rights of women and targets culture and tradition as influential forces shaping gender roles and family relations. It affirms women’s rights to acquire, change or retain their nationality and the nationality of their children. States parties also agree to take appropriate measures against all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of women.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most rapidly and widely ratified human rights treaty in history – with 194 countries as “states parties.” The only countries that have not ratified the treaty are Somalia, South Sudan, and the United States.  Countries that ratify the treaty pledge to protect children from economic and sexual exploitation, violence, and other forms of abuse and to advance the rights of children to education, health care, and a decent standard of living. The convention also addresses children’s rights to a name and nationality, to be heard, to be fairly treated when accused of offenses, when deprived of parental care, and other rights.
Although many countries have adopted impressive sets of laws protecting women and children, they often fail to enforce them. Millions of children are not in school, particularly girls, children from poor families, children in conflict countries, and children with disabilities. Many children suffer and die from diseases that can be easily prevented, including diarrhea and malaria.
In Afghanistan, around 20% of children are expected to work in order to provide for themselves and for their family. Street vendors, water carriers, cardboard collectors, shoe polishers, taxi solicitors, domestic servants, assistants in boutiques, are the kind of odd jobs done by Afghan children.
The child plays an important economic role in the Afghan family structure, mainly because the little money earned by their parents is hardly enough to feed the hungry mouths in the family. Additionally, due to cultural practices, Afghan mothers rarely choose to seek employment outside their homes. In this situation, the family relies upon the economic contribution of the child, even if it means the child is left begging on the streets.
The consequences which follow their obligation to work are indeed tragic: absence of education, police violence and disease linked to pollution and to the drastically changing climate.
The situation is really critical for women and children and the graph of violence, including sexual harassments, seems to be on the rise. The wicked individuals do not feel mercy on children and victimize them barbarically. In such a case, the government is supposed to enforce the law with no impunity at all so as to prevent from further violence. If the rights of the most vulnerable parts of the society namely women and children, be violated with no or loose reaction from the government, the graph of crime will go higher with each passing day.
The Afghans need to realize that the ethical values that are obsolete and discriminatory must be discouraged so that they should be able to make developments towards a civilized society. On the other hand the individuals must keep in consideration the welfare and security of others while performing different social actions. The different strata in the society must be dealt with in accordance to their due rights. The weaker strata like the poor, women, and minorities must be treated appropriately. Moreover, the ethics is not just about doing good to one’s own-self, rather it should be based on the principles of humanity and must avoid discriminatory behavior.