Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, July 21st, 2019

“Orange the World”

November 25 is celebrated in different countries of the world as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women. The basic objective of the day is to raise awareness regarding the issues that pertain to violence against women and make efforts to discourage the practices that promote violence against women.
The date came after the brutal assassination of the three Dominican political activists, known as Mirabal sisters, in 1960, on the orders of Dominican ruler, Rafael Trujillo. On 20 December 1993, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), by resolution 48/104, adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women. In this context, in 1999 the UNGA designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and invited governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize on that day activities designed to raise public awareness of the problem.
This year the theme of the day is “Orange the World: #HearMeToo so as to mark the launch of 16 days of activism that will conclude on 10 December 2018, which the International Human Rights Day. Iconic buildings and landmarks were oranged to recall the need for a violence-free future for women.
It is really vital to note that violence against women is the most extreme form of discrimination.
According to the data by United Nations, 1 in 3 women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner. Only 52% of women married or in a union freely make their own decisions about sexual relations, contraceptive use and health care. Worldwide, almost 750 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18th birthday; while 200 million women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation. In short, violence against women is as serious a cause of death and incapacity among women of reproductive age as cancer; and a greater cause of ill-health than traffic accidents and malaria combined.
Afghanistan is also one of the countries where violence against women is very frequent. It can be easily observed that the incidents violating women rights in Afghanistan have not been stopped though there have been many claims of developments. In fact, the changes are prevalent only on the exterior while from within, the Afghan society still lacks the development it needs in order to reach to a respectable position. The support and assistance of the international community has only been able to provide clean and beautiful attire not a praiseworthy soul to Afghan society. The Afghan social structure has been vehemently dominated by religious extremism and tribal nepotism.
Most of the self-designed religious doctrines and tribal norms are against the women and discriminate their basic rights. Unfortunately, these norms and doctrines have even gone to the extent of violence and have tortured women physically – mostly in the public. They, in the name of dignity of women, have in fact degraded them. The concept of so-called tribal honor and dignity has not been able to provide safety and respect to Afghan women.
There have been worst incidents of violence in Afghanistan. These incidents include even the rape of a three years old girl. This shows the example of the most heinous brutality against females in a society that considers women as the honor and dignity of a family.
Violence against women can only be reduced in Afghanistan when the policies and perceptions regarding women start changing. The authorities can play a key role in this regard. Nonetheless, it is unfortunate to note that Afghan authorities and many important personalities themselves have favored the recommendations and suggestions to limit the participation of women in social and political lives. As most of these authorities are themselves nourished in an extremist patriarchal society and do not have much consideration regarding the role and empowerment of women and consider it against their tribal values that they come out of their houses. It is difficult for them to follow a movement to save women from violence and make them achieve their due place in Afghan society. The pursuit of Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law is one of the most evident examples. Most of the authorities have shown reluctance to pursue it in its true spirit. The reason is that they do not agree with the law as a whole and have certain objections. Most of them have their self-centered motives. Unfortunately, they use the name of Islam but it should be clarified that Islam does not tolerate violence against women and urge for social and political participation of women.
There should be a movement that must use different forums to discuss and consider the overall issue of violence against women in Afghanistan seriously along with raising awareness and sensitization regarding EVAW law. The movement can involve the political and religious leaders, especially the ones who have some interest in this regard. They can also involve the authorities that have important positions in the policy-making arena and make them realize their responsibilities. Ultimately, they, along with the people as a whole, should continue their efforts in this regard and show that they have respect for women and their human rights.