UNAMA report says Afghan women face prison in Taliban-ruled nation

Just Earth News | @justearthnews | 16 Dec 2023, 04:53 am Print

UNAMA report says Afghan women face prison in Taliban-ruled nation Afghanistan

Photo Courtesy: UNICEF/Madhok

Under Taliban rule in Afghanistan, women reporting gender-based violence to the authorities may end up in prison – allegedly for the victims’ own protection.

That’s just one of the shocking findings of a new report by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which found that instead of filing a formal complaint, many survivors prefer seeking redress through “traditional dispute resolution mechanisms” within the community for fear of the de facto authorities – including “fear of revictimization”.

The report says that the plight of victims is compounded by the handling of gender-based violence complaints predominantly by male police and justice personnel.

Since their return to power in August 2021 the Taliban have almost completely erased women from public life and civil service positions in the country.

No redress, shelter’s closed

Mechanisms and policies enabling victims to obtain legal redress and protection have “all but disappeared” since the Taliban takeover, the report notes.

Some 23 state-sponsored women’s shelters were dismantled as women survivors needed instead to be with their husbands or other male family members, Taliban officials were quoted as saying.

Being sent to prison allegedly for their own safety, was the only alternative, deemed some officials.

UNAMA noted that imprisoning women to ensure their protection from gender-based-violence “would amount to an arbitrary deprivation of liberty” with dire consequences for their mental and physical health.

The UN assistance mission reiterated the de facto authorities’ obligation to ensure justice in gender-based violence cases, to put an end to “the perpetual culture of impunity” and also to provide protection and access to services for victims.