Killing of women is a state crime says UN expert
The killing of women in Afghanistan and Pakistan is a state crime and those responsible must be pursued with rigour and brought to justice, an independent human rights expert has said.
Rashida Manjoo, who is investigating violence against women as an expert for the UN Human Rights Council, called on governments in both countries to act immediately to stop tolerance of gender-related violence.
“The failure of States to guarantee women’s right to a life free from violence allows for a continuum of violence which can end in their death,” Manjoo was reported as saying.
“The killing of women is indeed a State crime when tolerated by public institutions and officials – when they are unable to prevent, protect and guarantee the lives of women, who have consequently experienced multiple forms of discrimination and violence throughout their lifetime” she added.
Earlier this month Farida Afridi, a human rights defender, was gunned down as she left her office in Peshawar, Pakistan.
Hanifa Safi, a provincial head of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs lost her life in Afghanistan when a bomb attached to her car exploded.
And a young woman called Najiba was executed after being accused of adultery in Afghanistan with a Taliban commander. She was tried and shot within one hour.
There are many other women whose names do not draw international attention but who are systematically abused or killed.
The execution of Najiba was condemned by Afghan President Hamid Kharzai and led to protests in Kabul (see WVoN story).
Manjoo said: “It is crucial to acknowledge that these are not isolated incidents that arise suddenly and unexpectedly, but are rather the extreme manifestation of pre-existing forms of violence experienced by women everywhere,” she stressed.
“However, women suffering multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination face a greater risk of experiencing such violence.”
She recommended to the UN council that effective investigations, prosecutions and sanctions are carried out; that victims and their families are treated with respect, and that reparations to victims and their families are made.