Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 04:55 pm est

Women’s rights in Afghanistan lack attention

Posted on February 7, 2014 | by Nina Golshan

Human Rights Watch released a report in January detailing the deteriorating state of human rights, specifically women’s rights, in Afghanistan. In a disturbing reflection of the report’s accuracy, a new law that would severely weaken a woman’s ability to seek redress in court for domestic violence, marital rape and forced child marriage is awaiting the approval of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The proposal was passed by parliament, and Karzai is expected to sign it into law in the coming weeks.

The situation for women in Afghanistan has steadily worsened since Karzai took office in 2004. Although equal rights for all citizens are guaranteed under the 2004 Afghan Constitution and the 2009 Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women, enforcement of these guarantees is inadequate and prosecution of crimes against women has not risen in tandem with the increasing reports of abuse. In the same year that he passed the EVWA, Karzai signed a law that legalized marital rape and forced women to ask their husband’s permission before leaving their homes. The Afghan president’s support for the most recent law restricting women is more than concerning, but unfortunately this is not surprising.

Karzai, who was essentially installed by the United States after the end of the Taliban regime, has forged his own path, much to the displeasure of U.S. political leaders. His relationship with the Taliban is the greatest cause for concern. This past week, his secret dialogue with leaders of the extremist group came to light, and Karzai seems to be seeking a resolution with the group that excludes the United States.

Women’s rights suffered extensively under Taliban rule. Under Karzai’s administration, the Taliban is once again gaining the foothold they lost in 2001. Their continued influence in Afghan politics is apparent in the worsening conditions for women in the country.

The official schedule for the withdrawal of U.S. and other foreign troops is contingent upon whether Karzai will sign the security pact that allows NATO forces to remain in Afghanistan after this year, but withdrawal in late-2014 or early-2015 is likely. In the next Afghan presidential election, slated for April 5, 2014, Karzai will not be eligible to run again. As the country’s first democratic transfer of power, the change of administration will likely be turbulent. When Afghan forces are left to their own devices, the instability the international presence has helped to mask will likely escalate.

 Amid the commotion of both the election and withdrawal of troops, the situation for Afghan women seems bleak. International attention will drift to other matters, leaving the incoming administration, and the increasingly influential Taliban, with free rein. Whether American forces leave Afghanistan or not, international human rights organizations, the United Nations and all foreign leaders need to increase pressure on the Karzai administration and whichever administration that follows to urge progress in women’s rights. Investment in women and girls is the foundation of any growing country’s rise to stability and if any success is to be seen in Afghanistan’s future, tangible progress needs to be made.

Nina Golshan is a deputy opinion editor. Email her at ngolshan@nyunews.com.

Comments

  • Arafat

    The UN? Good luck with that…

    No, the UN is not a club of morons. It has become a
    multi-billion-dollar bureaucracy of career wonks, parasites, moochers, useless
    diplomats, well-paid support staff, professional courtiers, ass-kissers,
    flesh-eating zombies, and altruist snobs, paid for largely by U.S.
    contributions and dues. The UN is a signal instance of how we are paying for
    our own destruction.

    There isn’t a single UN agency that has done a lick of good. It
    has never solved the “problems” of hunger, disease, and poverty, and
    never will, because it has a vested interest in perpetuating those things. The
    only good thing it has done was to approve the creation of Israel, and that was
    in the way of an apology for the West not having opposed Nazi Germany early
    enough to prevent WWII, as a kind of compensation for the Holocaust.

    No good could ever come from a formal association with what has
    become a clique of dictatorships, authoritarian régimes, welfare states, and
    feudal monarchies, for the alleged purpose of advancing “peace.” But
    ever since its creation the world has seen more strife, turmoil, butchery,
    misery, and slaughter than in any other period of human history, except perhaps
    during the Dark Ages, when the competition in death was between disease and
    savages.

CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
Tatiana Baez

Assistant Managing Editor | A CAS junior, Tatiana is studying journalism, environmental science and politics. She’s a bomb editor, as well as the staff’s main source of entertainment because she sings along to every song after 12 a.m. She also writes about culture, science, technology and sex, and her work has been featured in VICE, Motherboard, Elite Daily, amNewYork and others. She enjoys eating Thai food, reading fiction and binge-watching Netflix.

And in case you were wondering how great she really is — “I just can’t get enough of Tatiana” is a direct quote from her EIC at WSN only moments ago.

AS
Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.

 

DY
Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

CLOSE [x]
  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    NEWS FEATURES MULTIMEDIA SPORTS ARTS OPINION
    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.

    Next