Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, November 20, 2006

Afghani women find self-immolation as their only escape

While Afghanistan after the Taliban offered hope for gravely needed rectification in terms of women’s human rights, legal reforms have yet to render real improvements in women’s lives. The Associated Press reports the growing incidences of women in Afghanistan who, finding no other recourse, turn to self-immolation in a desperate attempt “to escape violence, forced marriage, and hardship.”

According to Raoufa Niazi, public health director for the Herat province, women do not feel they can appeal to existing institutions to redress their abusive environment at home because the government does nothing to appease their plight. Despite legal sanctioning of women’s education and political participation, there have been no legislative measures to hinder the alarmingly high rates of forces marriage. The majority of women are married before they are sixteen to men several decades their senior. Women are still treated as chattel readily exchanged to resolve a debt, a dispute, or a crime.

Due to official reluctance to take on this important issue, statistics on self-immolation are hardly accurate and underreporting is common. However, it is know that 70 percent of women treated for self-immolation die, while girls as young as 9 have been reported to have resorted to the horrific practice.

For full story, click here.


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