Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Afghanistan Hosts Conference on Self-Immolation

Today marks the beginning of a three-day conference on self-immolation in Afghanistan hosted by Medica Monaiale, a German human rights organization whose focus is violence against women, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports. The conference, which will showcase recent research findings, brings together government, parliament, and private-sector representatives, as well as religious leaders and mental-health experts from countries including Iraq, Iran, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and India. The aim of the conference is to create a healthy forum for discussion that will enable the development of realistic response strategies.

Medica Monaiale and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission conducted research throughout eight provinces of Afghanistan. However, the conference organizer, Ancil Adrian-Paul, stated that there were instances of self-immolation in at least 22 provinces. Adrian-Paul hopes that bringing together various nations will prove to Afghans that this is a problem in other countries as well.

The collection of such a diverse group of people who are affected by this problem will hopefully engender a greater understanding for the rationale behind these actions. Previous literature linked self-immolation to sexual abuse and forced marriage. Although most of those that participated in the study were illiterate rural woman, ranging from 30 to 60 years old, Medican Monaiale found that 28% of their research demographic was male. This is a problem that affects both males and females, from varying classes and ethnicities. As of yet, it is believed that domestic violence (both physical and sexual abuse) and an incompetent justice system lead some to believe that self-immolation is their only alternative.

For the full story, click here.


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