• Press Release

Afghan Girl Beheaded for Refusing to Enter Prostitution Highlights Violent Atmosphere in the Region

October 17, 2012

Human Rights Organization Says Incident is Part of Greater Pattern of Abuses against Women and Girls in the Region

Contact: Sharon Singh, [email protected], 202-675-8579, @spksingh

(Washington, D.C.) – Suzanne Nossel, Amnesty International USA executive director, issued the following statement in response to news reports that a young Afghan woman in Herat province was beheaded because she refused to be forced into prostitution by her in-laws:

“The tragic fate of Mah Gul is one more incident that highlights the violent atmosphere that women and girls face in Afghanistan and the region. They are raped, killed, forced into marriage in childhood, prevented from obtaining an education and denied their sexual and reproductive rights. Until basic human rights are guaranteed to women and girls in the region, these horrible abuses will continue to be committed.

“The enduring view that women and girls are disposable and not equal increases the chronic suffering of more than half the population. Women and girls must be empowered to receive an education, get employment and determine their own destiny.

“As Afghanistan assumes responsibility for its security, the international community must play its part in addressing the need to guarantee women’s rights to security, political participation and justice without compromise. Anything less risks Afghanistan and the region’s stability and prosperity.”

Amnesty International reiterates its call to the Afghan government to promptly enforce its law on Elimination of Violence Against Women. The law criminalizes forced marriage, rape, beatings, and other acts of violence against women. It was enacted in August 2009, but is still only sporadically enforced.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.