In Afghanistan, the story of Sarah Gul’s early forced marriage and abuse by her in-laws shocked the public but now her tormentors are free. The torture began shortly after her brother sold her to the family for an underage wedding, when she baulked at the family’s effort to force her into prostitution. Her new husband did not participate in the abuse, but nor did he try to stop his father, mother and sister.
By the end of her ordeal she was so weak she had to be rescued from her makeshift prison in a wheelbarrow.The unexpected release of her in-laws has terrified the young girl and could jeopardise her recovery.”The sister-in-law when she saw her in court said: ‘We didn’t kill you then, but when I get out, I will kill you.’”
Women’s rights groups fear the Afghan government’s efforts to bring the Taliban into the political fold may mean a step back in time for the country’s women.
President Hamiz Karzai nominated Abdul Rahman Hotak to be Commissioner on the newly established human rights commission. Hotak opposes Karzai’s proposed Elimination of Violence Against Women law (EVAW), which would make domestic and public violation against women punishable by law. Criticized for being un-Islamic, the proposed law has been languishing in Afghanistan’s Parliament since 2009.
During the Taliban’s rule, Hotak worked for the Taliban’s education directorate. Later, he was editor of the Taliban newspaper “Afghan Sunrise”.
Afghan child bride Sahar Gul is appealing against the early release of the people who tortured her. The BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder in Kabul considers what it means for the future of women’s rights in the country.
U.S. Representatives Roby (R-Alabama) and Tsongas (D-Massachusetts) write that gains for women’s rights in Afghanistan are increasingly at risk as the U.S. considers withdrawing its troops: “there are reports of an anti-equality movement gaining traction in the Afghan government. Concern is mounting that the drawdown of coalition forces will leave a vacuum in which Afghan women in Herat and elsewhere see their rights vanish.”
Read their op-ed piece here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323368704578596371748087486.html
The most senior female police officer in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, and a symbol of improving women’s rights in the face of Taliban hostility, has been shot dead. Lieutenant Islam Bibi, who had survived death threats from her own brother to rise through the ranks, was shot as she left her home yesterday morning.
Omar Zwaak, spokesman for the governor of Helmand, said Lt Bibi had been attacked as she rode on a motorbike alongside her son-in-law in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital.
Australia’s ABC News profiles Colonel Latifa Nabizada, Afghanistan’s first woman military helicopter pilot.
Read her remarkable story here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-02-12/latifa-nabizada-mama-asia-afghanistan/4489756
An Afghan prisoner murdered his wife when she went to visit him, allegedly because she had been unfaithful after he was jailed for killing her relatives, police said.
Afghan police have arrested two men accused of beheading a teenage girl for rejecting a marriage proposal.
Gul Meena’s story, as best it can be pieced together from relatives, tribal elders and others, gives insight into that deeply entrenched tribal culture. But it is also a story about a society struggling to come to terms with a different way of thinking about women.