Activists Warn Of Surge In Violence Against Women In North

The department dealing with the elimination of violence against the women in Balkh said Thursday that the presence of illegal armed men and local lawbreakers has hindered the implementation of law against women rights violators.

Presence of such elements (local lawbreakers and illegal armed men) in the area has resulted in the increase of violent cases such as honor killings and sexual abuse, said Fawzia Hamid, head of the department dealing with the elimination of violence against the women in Balkh.

22 cases of sexual abuse were recorded in Balkh this year which shows a 30 percent increase compared to previous year, she said.

She went on to say, “lawbreakers, illegal armed men and commanders who operate in the districts have been creating obstructions in our way, even the district police chiefs and crime investigation departments are not able to prevent the trend or refer them to the attorney generals’s office and appeal court,” she said.

Meanwhile, a number of rights activists from Balkh and Jawzhan provinces gathered in Mazar-e-Sharif city to raise their voices against the increasing level of child marriages, tortures, sexual abuse and honor killings.

Rights activists have warned against the surge in child marriages in the villages.

“We recorded increasing number of child marriages, forced marriages and extensive marriage expenditures in remote areas,” rights activist Suhaila told TOLOnews.

Over the past nine months, 110 cases of violence against women have been recorded in Balkh province which includes cases related to honor killings, sexual abuse, under age marriages, selling and tortures.

Reasons Behind The Surge are believed to be poverty, unemployment, security threats and impunity, say activists. They say these appear to be the main aspects of the surge in the increase in violence against the women in Balkh, Samangan, Jawozjan and Sar-e-Pul provinces.

“In the first nine months of 2014, statistics of violence were around 700 cases, but this year it is around 900 cases which shows a 20 percent increase,” Sayed Mohammad Same, head of the site office of Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission in Balkh said.

Despite efforts made over the last 14 years to curb the trend, rights activists say the efforts weren’t sufficient to overcome the issue.

However, the government and other relevant bodies made an effort to curb the violence, but rights groups argue that the efforts weren’t enough to wipe out the menace completely.

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