MADRE Articles

Afghan Women Confront Human Rights Crisis

Posted on: Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Keywords: Afghanistan, Peace Building

To help shore up domestic support for its war in Afghanistan, the Bush Administration spoke often of the need to free Afghan women from the Taliban. Indeed, that regime robbed women of even a minimal degree of self-determination, violating basic rights to education, employment, healthcare, freedom of movement and freedom from violence.

After the Taliban was deposed by the US, women’s circumstances improved somewhat, mainly in the cities. Yet for the vast majority of Afghan women, US promises of freedom never materialized.

Many Afghan women are adamant that only they themselves can secure their rights and that human rights cannot be enforced by an occupying army. As activists, they face tremendous challenges, including an ongoing war and entrenched gender-based abuse that makes Afghanistan one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a woman.

Here are some of the conditions that Afghan women confront everyday:

 

Health

 

Education

  • Eighty-seven percent of Afghan women have been denied the right to education and cannot read.
  • Thirty percent of girls have access to education in Afghanistan.  In rural areas, this number is as low at 1%.
  • Girls who attend school face the threat of attackers who throw acid at female students.
  • Due to attacks by the Taliban, many schools are finding it increasingly difficult to operate.  UNICEF has estimated that in four southern provinces, more than half of the 748 schools no longer provide any education at all.

 

Violence Against Women

 

 


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