When the human rights’ week was being observed in the world, Afghanistan was defamed in this context by the sad incident of a housewife by name of Sitara in Herat whose lips, nose and ears were cut by his husband in front of her children. His husband has been reported to be a drug addict and when he got angry on her, he decided to punish her by this barbarous method. The act of Sitara at one hand shows the harmful impacts of drugs on families and the society as a whole and at the same time, it shows the indifference of people towards the rights of women.
This sad incident was given extraordinary coverage in both national and international media and the image of Afghanistan got worse in this case, which was already too much notorious due to a number of acts and incidents against the women.
Physical and psychological violence against women is an accepted norm in Afghan society which has passed from one generation to the other. The kind of environment Afghanistan provides for women is inhumane and violent where possibility of violence always remains high. Therefore, Afghanistan is one of the worst places in the world to be a woman. The dark era of Taliban is over. At the time distance of 12 years from ouster of their government, it is still not surprising if a woman becomes of victim of worst form physical violence. Physical violence is indeed the reason for why so many Afghan women have psychological problems.
The incident must open the eyes of the government as more women whose husbands are addicted to drug might be at risk. According to statistics, the number of drug addicts has crossed the 1.5-million limit. Sadly, Afghanistan produces 90% of world’s opium. The first victims of drugs are Afghans themselves.
The incident in Herat is violation of human rights and Islamic principles. The duty of government in this regard is crystal clear i.e. it should prosecute the criminal as soon as possible. In Afghanistan, hanging criminals is allowed by law. People who are involved in chopping off their wives’ body parts and those who are involved in terror acts killing hundreds of people every year deserve to be hanged till death.
Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law has been signed by President Karzai but the parliament has not approved it yet. The lawmakers must realize that if EVAW law is put in practice, they would witness incidents such as that of Herat quite frequently. The condition faced by the Afghan women not only needs women-specific laws but also their strict implementation.
The repeated violence and sad incidents against women show the failure of concerned ministries and NGOs who claim to be much active for the protection of rights of women. But it is not possible that government agencies or NGOs should keep a continuous check on every single person and the family. It also needs to be accepted as a harsh reality that some of the criminal minded people would always keep committing such crimes but the problem would remain unsolved until the awareness in people is not increased about the importance of rights of women. Such awareness will not only make sure the sustainable solution of the problem but would also bring a considerable decrease in these events.
In order to bring awareness among the public, different forms of media can be used but most important would be the ones that address the illiterate public of backward areas as most of such crimes are committed in rural areas. These incidents show that there are still present some people in our backward areas who have no idea about the rights of women and the need of sensitivity in this regard. It is badly felt that such people should be duly educated about some basic human rights being granted by religion and also by the ethical standards and legal rights. When people would be aware and sensitive about the rights of other human beings especially the women, there would be a wave of awareness resulting in the decrease in such incidents. Such a condition will make sure the long-lasting protection of the rights of women.