Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Afghan government doing little to combat child sexual abuse, rights groups say

Child sexual abuse is a pervasive, yet underreported problem in Afghanistan, with children who work at public places especially at risk, according to the United Nations’ IRIN news agency.

While the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) last year documented just 31 cases of abuse, the actual number per year is thought to be in the hundreds. “Some parents think by reporting sex offenses against their children they will bring dishonor on their families,” said AIHRC’s Hangama Anwary.

When cases are reported, measures to bring justice and assistance to victims are often severely lacking. Seven men who last year gang raped and tortured a 13-year-old girl were released after two days, with a government official citing a lack of evidence. In general, rights groups say that corruption and the weak rule of law have marred efforts to prosecute offenders. To compound the problem, state-funded victim support is nonexistent, as only offenders – and not the government – are required to provide compensation to victims.

The AIHRC says there are strong ties between child sexual abuse and human trafficking, but the group criticizes the dearth of available legal and judicial mechanisms to combat the latter. “Human trafficking has not been defined in our legal system so far,” Anwary said. “We also do not have legal clarity on issues related to child sexual abuse.”

For the full article, click here.


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