UN Women Launches Multi-Province Project on Ending Violence against Women in Afghanistan

Date : 20 October 2011

UN Women, in close collaboration with Afghanistan's Ministry of Women Affairs and with support from the Government of Japan, is launching projects in six provinces to further strengthen efforts to end violence against women and girls.

Adapted from a UN Women initiative in Kabul, the multi-province project specifically aims to bolster the capacities of sub-national commissions on ending violence against women and provincial departments of women's affairs. It will also increase protection services for survivors of violence.

A key goal is to advance implementation of the 2009 Law on Elimination of Violence against Women, which is a landmark initiative. It criminalizes customs, traditions and practices that inflict harm against women, such as the illegal selling and buying of women for marriage, marriage before the legal age and forced isolation. UN Women is also supporting the Department of Women's Affairs in establishing six community resource centres that will serve as hubs for disseminating information about the law, and provide space for women in surrounding communities.

The project will operate in Bamyan, Balkh, Herat, Nangarhar, Parwan and Badakhshan provinces, where there are high instances of violence against women. All six provinces also have limited support from international organizations, while sub-national commission to curtail violence are not yet fully effective.

“The establishment and strengthening of the sub-national commissions on ending violence against women will help ensure appropriate monitoring, and effective prevention and response measures to address violence against women and girls, said Syed Sadiq A.J., Officer-in-Charge, UN Women Afghanistan, during the launch of the project in Bamyan province.

A recent study by the Ministry of Women's Affairs and women's groups reports that approximately 57 percent of girls in Afghanistan are married before the age of 16. Out of the 1,940 officially recorded incidents of violence against women in Afghanistan, 23 percent involved forced engagement and forced marriage, 14 percent entailed physical violence, 9 percent included a combination of rape, forced prostitution and forced sexual intercourse by husbands.

In Bamyan, Balkh and Parwan provinces, measures are already underway to assist the commissions. The programme will also be launched in Herat in late October, and in Nangarhar and Badakshan provinces in November 2011.