Afghan President authorizes body to eliminate violence against women

KABUL, Jun 9, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai in an attempt to further ensure women's rights in his conservative post-war nation, has authorized a ministerial task force obliged to eliminate violence against women, a UN spokesperson said Thursday.

"President Karzai signed a decree Monday that will authorize the creation of a new Inter-Ministerial Task Force to eliminate violence against women," spokesperson of UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Ariane Quantier told newsmen here.

The step has been taken in the backdrop of increasing violence against women such as forced marriage, child marriage and beating women especially in Afghanistan's rural areas.

Dozens of women and girls, according to media reports, have committed self-immolation due to home differences, husbands' beating and in-laws violations since last year.

"This move enacts a major recommendation arising from a workshop led by the Ministry of Women Affairs and supported by a women aid agency UNIFEM (UN Development Fund for Women) and government of Italy in November 2004," the spokesperson noted.

The Task Force's members, she said, would include high ranking representatives from Supreme Court, Attorney General's office, Women Affairs Ministry, Justice Ministry, Interior Ministry, Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Health and Human Rights Commission.

The Afghan President has earlier empowered women to assume key posts in government and contest the presidential and parliamentary elections in the country where it was a dream and even unthinkable for women during Taliban's reign which collapsed three and a half years ago.