Afghan women human rights defenders tell of intimidation and attacks

Press Release
March 10, 2010

Afghan women human rights defenders tell of intimidation and attacks

Afghan women human rights defenders tell of intimidation and attacks

Women human rights defenders in Afghanistan have told Amnesty International they face intimidation and attacks as they attempt to tackle violence and discrimination in the country.

Women and girls in Afghanistan face widespread human rights abuses including abduction, rape and trafficking. More than 87 per cent of Afghan women suffer from domestic abuse, according to the UN, and between 60 and 80 per cent of marriages are forced. This is despite a pledge from the Afghan government to protect women's rights and promote gender equality in Afghanistan.

Women who push for better human rights face systematic violence and threats from the Taleban and other anti-government groups, as well as local warlords and militias. The government does little to support women human rights defenders and sometimes actively hinders their work, eroding the hard-won gains Afghan women have made since the fall of the Taleban.

In areas under the Taleban's influence, it is all but impossible for women human rights defenders to continue their work, as several high profile women have been attacked and killed. Yet there are many brave and committed women who continue to challenge the status of women in Afghanistan. To mark International Women's Day, Amnesty International spoke to four such women.

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