KABUL – As part of a series of interactive radio programmes marking 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, participants from Afghanistan’s central provinces called for urgent measures to help prevent the crime.
"Violence against women is inhumane and un-Islamic," said Sarah Seerat, a women's rights defender, speaking on Radio Sada e Nijrab in Kapisa "but unfortunately, it remains prevalent in our society."
The radio progammes -in Maidan Wardak, Logar, Parwan, Kapisa and Panjshir- heard participants voice strong condemnation of the violence against women in Afghanistan. Launched ahead of 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the series is being held across Afghanistan in more than 25 provinces.
"Forced marriages, harmful traditions, poverty and lack of education are the main factors contributing to violence against women in Logar," said Noorrullah Stanikzai during a discussion on Zinat Radio.
In neighbouring Parwan province, public awareness programs on violence against women have brought positive results said Shah Jahan Yazdanparast, Women Affairs Director in the province.
"Women are now confidently filing complaints with the Department of Women's Affairs," said Yazdanparast on Radio Tolo-e-Khurshid.
Afghanistan has made some progress in addressing women's rights with legislation such as the EVAW law and the National Action Plan, but a lot remains to be achieved. Women face different forms of violence and discrimination. Many structural barriers, including poverty, inequality, illiteracy, harmful traditional practices and violent extremism, make women more susceptible to violence and abuse.
The UN maintains that alongside the effective legal and institutional mechanisms for access to justice, stopping violence against women requires an effort from everyone, not only taking action but also speaking out against violence in homes, workplaces and social settings.
A UN special report on access to justice of women and girl survivors of violence, is expected to be launched on Monday, 7 December 2020.
In all the radio discussions, participants gave recommendations on practical steps to end violence against women, including adding EVAW as part of the school curricular and public awareness campaigns.
The radio series was organized by the UNAMA field office Kabul and broadcast by Ghag FM in Maidan Wardak, Zinat Radio in Logar, Radio Sada e Nijrab in Kapisa, Radio Tolo e Khurshid in Parwan and Radio Kechken in Panjshir.
Sixteen days of activism will conclude on 10 December 2020, which is also International Human Rights Day.