400 Women Held in Afghanistan for ‘Moral Crimes’ Such as Fleeing Domestic Abuse
400 women held in Afghanistan for ‘moral crimes’ such as fleeing domestic abuse
For Afghan women, the act of fleeing domestic abuse or forced prostitution may land them in jail while their abusers walk free, Human Rights Watch said in a report published Wednesday.
Running away is considered a “moral crime” for women in Afghanistan while some rape victims are also imprisoned, because sex outside marriage — even when the woman is forced — is considered adultery, another “moral crime.”
“From the first time I came to this world my destiny was destroyed,” 17-year-old Amina, who has spent months in jail after being forced into prostitution, told researchers from Human Rights Watch.
Despite progress in women’s rights and freedom since the fall of the Taliban a decade ago, women throughout the country are at risk of abduction, rape, forced marriage and being traded as commodities.
It can be hard for women to escape violence at home because of huge social pressure and legal risks to stay in marriages.
“The treatment of women and girls accused of ‘moral crimes’ is a black eye on the face of the post-Taliban Afghan government and its international backers, all of whom promised that respect for women’s rights would distinguish the new government from the Taliban,” the New York-based group said.
“This situation has been further undermined by President (Hamid) Karzai’s frequently changing position on women’s rights. Unwilling or unable to take a consistent line against conservative forces within the country, he has often made compromises that have negatively impacted women’s rights.”