Kabul, Afghanistan – The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Friday called on Taliban leadership to end violence against women and the “broader deterioration of women’s rights” in an efforts to establish a sustainable peace in the country.
In a press statement to Khaama Press, UNAMA made the call at a time the world marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the start of the global 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence.
Since the takeover last August, Women in Afghanistan have had many of their most fundamental rights restricted in a country that has one of the highest rates of violence against women globally.
Afghan women have also experienced a “marked deterioration” in access to coordinated, comprehensive and quality services for survivors of gender-based violence.
“The fundamental rights of Afghan women need to be protected and concrete steps need to be taken for an enabling environment which is free from all forms of violence,” said Roza Otunbayeva, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.
“Protecting the rights of women is a crucial factor for stability, prosperity and any lasting peace in Afghanistan” said Otunbayeva, who is also head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
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The current situation is exacerbated by a dire humanitarian and economic crisis – including the freedom to move, work, seek education, and participate in public life.
These factors reinforce traditional social norms that condone the use of violence as a form of discipline and control, creating an environment where violence against women and girls is normalized.
“Each day we continue to see the normalization of violence against women and girls, in their homes, places where they are allowed to work, online, and in public spaces,” said Alison Davidian, UN Women’s Representative in Afghanistan.
“Globally we know it is impossible to create an environment where women and girls are free from violence without also having specific interventions to empower them, including initiatives to support their voice, agency and participation in the decisions affecting their lives. We need to renew our efforts to invest in both the protection and empowerment of women and girls in Afghanistan.”
The UN in Afghanistan is working to address gender-based violence, including responding to the differentiated needs of vulnerable women and girls, amplifying the priorities and influence of women, direct support and funding to service providers and civil society organizations working to eliminate all forms of violence, prevention and response programmes, and advocacy with key national and international stakeholders.
What is 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that starts on 25 November and ends on 10 December, International Human Rights Day.
It calls for global action to increase awareness, strengthen advocacy efforts and share knowledge and innovations to end gender-based violence everywhere.
The campaign started by activists at the inauguration of the Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991.
It continues to be coordinated each year by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership. It is used as an organizing strategy by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.