PESHAWAR – Domestic violence is one of the biggest problems for Afghan refugee women and they don’t find any remedy due to the conservative social set-up, speakers at a seminar said in Peshawar on December 10.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Afghan Women Resource Centre (AWRC)and the Aurat Foundation jointly organized the seminar entitled “For the health of women, for the health of the world, no more violence” at Nishtar Hall here in connection with the “International Human Rights Day”.
The speakers stressed the need to make women more aware about their rights as women rights were also human rights. These organizations observed a 16-day (25 Nov-10 Dec) programme aimed at ending violence against women.
It was continuation of a movement for the elimination of violence against women which was started in 1991 by a joint forum of women activists. Amina Shafi, representing AWRC, said situation of Afghan women was not satisfactory.
They had to face domestic violence as most of them were illiterate and were financially dependent. They remained silent if they were beaten and abused as most of them got married at young age to men who do not match them in age.
Afghan refugee women don’t know about their rights and until they were not made financially independent abuse of their rights could not be checked, Miss Amina said. The UNHCR representative Miss Marcella Daniel on the occasion explained what UN organization was doing for the Afghan refugee women.
She said that refugees faced human rights abuses because they did not have the protection of their government. Refugees especially women and children needed international security.
Miss Daniel said that these women not only needed security against armed attacks but also protection against discrimination and violation at domestic and social levels.
Rakhshinda Naz, resident director of Aurat Foundation said that there was a relation between the International Human Rights Day and Dec 10, a day being observed by all the women demanding the elimination of all kinds of violence against them.
There was an alarming increase in the number of cases of violence against women. During Jan-May 2004 in seven districts three women were publicly abused in different cases and about 102 women faced different kinds of violence. The laws like Qisas and Diyyat and Hudood Ordinances were also instead of protecting women’s rights were the cause of their victimization, said Miss Naz.
The women speakers stressed the need to eliminate all kinds of discrimination and violence. Many cases of domestic violence were not registered correctly as there was no definition of domestic violence and many criminals who committed this crime escaped punishment by the law. There is a need for proper implementation of laws which could Women’s rights, speakers said.