Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Threats against women continue after Taliban

Shukria Barakzai, a female member of Afghanistan’s parliament, continues to receive death threats amid the power struggle between the Taliban and the Afghan government, BBC News reported today.

The threats seem to stem from Barakzai’s support for women’s rights and her continued criticisms of Afghan warlords and Pakistan. The letters are sent by the Afghan government notifying Barakzai and 6 other MPs of threats made against them. While the MPs are notified of their targeted status, the government offers no additional security measures to allow the members to continue their legislative responsibilities without constant fear of being murdered.

“That is all that the government does – send a letter by mail once every month saying my life is under threat. There isn't talk of even providing security,” Barakzai said. “I am going crazy. My friends are telling me to leave the country. My husband is worried. After all, I am also a mother and a wife.”

Although six years have passed since the overthrow of the Taliban, women continue to live in an environment of fear and coercion despite constitutionally recognized rights. With 91 female MPs in Afghanistan, the ability of women to participate in the political realm is a huge step for the Afghan people. Society at large, however, has not so quickly broken with traditions of gender inequality.

Forced marriages, honor killings and rape continue to plague Afghan women. Last year, over 1,500 cases of atrocities against women were documented by Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission. Tribal councils continue to decide the fate of women in rural areas and almost always rule against them.

For the full article, click here.

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