Gestern Abend fand im taz-café eine Veranstaltung über die Emanzipationskämpfe der Frauen in Afghanistan statt. Es diskutierten Rahima Housaini, von einer UNO-Organisation und Zubaida Akba von einer NGO sowie Monica Hauser von „Medica Mondiale“ und die taz-Chefredakteurin Ines Pohl. Während die beiden jungen afghanischen Frauen Optimismus verbreiteten – es gehe voran, war Monica Hauser der Meinung, die Situation im Land werde immer schwieriger.
Ihre Organisation hatte dazu ein Positionspapier über die Situation der Frauen in Afghanistan erstellt:
“We were full of hope for a better future. And many of us have worked to improve the life of the women. But now it is getting more and more difficult each day to continue this work. It is quite simple: If the international community does not support us, then we are unable to continue. “
(Humaira Rasuli, Director of medica mondiale Afghanistan)
1. “Each day I live in fear” – The pressure on the women is growing
Nine years after 11 September and the start of the operation “Enduring Freedom“, which justified its commitment not only with the hunt for terrorists, but also with the fight for women’s rights, the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan still is catastrophic. 87 per cent of all the women “are beaten on a regular basis“, according to UNIFEM. 80 per cent of all the marriages are concluded under compulsion, half of all the wives are below the age of 16. Accordingly high is the number of high risk pregnancies and maternal mortality. If these girls elope their husbands who often are much older than they are, they often end up in prison – without legally valid indictment, for their ’crime’does not exist in the Afghan criminal code of law contrary to the presumption of many policemen, prosecutors and judges. According to UNAMA (UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan) rape is common place “in all parts of thecountry“. Raped women are considered to be guilty of the crime, which is why they rarely publicise the crime or even report it to the authorities. UNAMA: “The current reality is that … women are denied their most fundamental rights and risk further violence in the course of seeking justice for crimes perpetrated against them.”
The number of women who consider suicide to be the only way out of their desperate situation is growing.According to a report by Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), the number of suicides committed by women has grown within the year 2009 by 50 per cent in the province of Herat alone. For the last six months the Regional hospital reports 85 cases of self-immolations and self-poisoning (Petroleum or rat poison are often the only means for committing suicide for those women who are relegated to stay inside the house), 57 women died of it. Hamida Husseini of the department for women’s issues in the regional government explains: “If nothing is done to address the rising number of suicides in the province, the loss of life will reach unacceptable levels.” Along with this every day violence in the families the pressure is currently growing on women who commit themselves for attaining their rights.
• With so- called ‘Night Letters’ women are threatened massively. These threatening letters and also the scenes of rape passed on via the mobile phone are sent anonymously as bulk mail or sent specifically to singular female activists. The Afghanistan NGO Safety Office (ANSO) writes in a security report dated May 2010, thus, for example, entire villages are terrorised, and requested not to cooperate with organisations, which collaborate with the government. Author of the Night Letters are “Armed Opposition Groups“, i.e. Taleban or other radical rebel groups close to the Taleban.
• These groups turn their threats into a reality. Among the women who were killed last year, were Sitara Achakzai, a women’s rights activist and member of the provincial parliament of Kandahar, the journalist and women’s rights activist Zakia Zaki or Malalai Kakar, the highest ranking police woman of Kandahar. The actress Parwin Mushkatel, who left the country, after her husband was shot, explains: “The atmosphere is getting worse every day. Women are decreasingly able to work.” Those who still do are in fear of death. ”Each day I live in fear“, an employee of an international Non-governmental organisation (NGO) told the Journalist Ann Jones in a report on the situation of
Afghan women. Three of her female colleagues were abducted, beaten, tortured and threatened by death, if they continued to work for the NGO. The UNAMA Report on the situation of women states: Women’s organisations, female journalists and the female members of Parliament – 25 per cent according to the quota stipulated in the Constitution – are massively intimidated, especially since the Parliament is “controlled by fundamentalist warlords“. The report quotes one female member of Parliament: “Most of the time women don’t dare even say a word about sensitive Islamic issues, because they are afraid of being labelled as blasphemous.“ Due to the deteriorating security situation medica mondiale Afghanistan had to close the office in Kandahar in 2008 and put the work there on halt. Since mid-2009 medica mondiale Afghanistan only works within the boundaries of the cities of Kabul, Herat and Mazar.
• In May the Religious Council in the province of Herat took a decision which continues to massively curtail the freedom of movement of women: Women should not be longer allowed to travel without a ‘mahram’, i.e. without a male escort. ”If women go to work or vocational training or other purposes without a mahram, this contradicts the Sharia“, the Council declared. ”Even though Islam provides for education for both women and men, according to Article 3 of our Constitution no action which is against the Sharia can be accepted. We call upon all of the fathers and brothers to protect the dignity of the women and not to allow them to do such acts. We call upon the Afghan government to prevent such acts against the Sharia in this Islamic country.” The Council expressly forbids women to work for a foreign NGO.
• ”It appears that some provinces would like to prepare the ground for the Taleban with such decisions“, the head of the Legal Aid Department of medica mondiale Afghanistan fears. Even though this body is not an official legal instance and stands for a highly conservative interpretation of the Sharia, the decision is an expression of the current situation and has considerable weight. The change in the political climate also drew consequences for medica mondiale Afghanistan: One female co-worker in Herat had to resign due to the pressure coming from her own family, another female co-worker was threatened with divorce by her husband, for she travelled to Kabul without him. Another female co-worker had to move to another apartment following massive threats.
• In February 2009 President Karzai signed the “Shiite Personal Status Law“, which caused a stir throughout the world. The law that Karzai apparently wanted to secure the votes of around ten per cent of the Shiites prior to the Presidential elections in August of 2009 with, allowed husbands among other things to refuse their wives the provision, if they were not ready to have sexual intercourse every three nights. This passage was eliminated again following local and international protests, other rules on the law of succession or divorce law remained in place, however. ”These kinds of barbaric laws were supposed to have been relegated to the past with the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001, yet Karzai has revived them and given them his official stamp of approval”, Human Rights Watch declared.
• With Karzai’s second term in office, the climate continued to get worse. Thus the new Minister for Justice Habibullah Ghaleb, a 71-year old Islamic scholar, is an open adversary to women’s rights. He asked what an Islamic society needed women’s shelters for. Two shelters have been closed by him since, which were financed by the international community. While medica mondiale Afghanistan was able to establish Legal Aid Programme for women and girls since 2004 with the funding coming from the German Foreign Office among others, the Minister now declared: Young prison inmates may only be represented by federal lawyers. After protests by medica mondiale Afghanistan the ministry gave in, a final decision has not yet been taken.
AP meldet heute aus Afghanistan:
Bei heftigen Auseinandersetzungen zwischen Demonstranten und der Polizei vor einem kleinen Bundeswehr-Lager in Nordafghanistan sind am Mittwoch mindestens elf Menschen getötet worden. Die Kundgebung in der nordafghanischen Stadt Talokan in der Provinz Tachar richtete sich gegen einen NATO-Angriff in der Region, bei dem es wenige Stunden zuvor vier Tote gab. Zum Hergang dieses Angriffs gab es widersprüchliche Angaben.
Die rund 1.500 Demonstranten in Talokan riefen Schmährufe gegen die USA und Präsident Hamid Karsai. „Tod Karsai! Tod den USA!“ hieß es. Die Proteste wurden dann gewalttätig, als einige Demonstranten begannen. Läden zu plündern und Steine auf den Bundeswehr-Posten zu werfen. Es waren dann Schüsse zu hören. Ein Arzt erklärte, die getöteten Demonstranten hätten Schusswunden gehabt. Mehr als 50 Menschen seien verwundet worden, darunter auch einige Polizisten, erklärte die Provinzregierung. Talokan liegt an der Straße nach Faisabad, wo die Bundeswehr einen großen Stützpunkt unterhält.
Gestern meldete AP aus Afghanistan:
1. Afghanische und NATO-Soldaten haben bei gemeinsamen Einsätzen in der östlichen Provinz Paktika nach Behördenangaben mindestens 13 Aufständische getötet. Behördensprecher Mochlis Afghan erklärte, zwölf Kämpfer seien im Bezirk Urgun getötet worden, vier weitere bei einer Razzia im Bezirk Mata Chan. Die NATO bestätigte die Einsätze, sprach aber von insgesamt 13 Todesopfern.
2. Die US-Regierung verstärkt ihre Bemühungen, mit Vertretern der Taliban ins Gespräch zu kommen.
Aus Pakistan meldet AP heute:
Rund 100 Aufständische haben in Pakistan einen Kontrollpunkt der Sicherheitskräfte angegriffen. Bei dem folgenden dreistündigen Auseinandersetzungen in der Nähe von Peshawar wurden zwei Polizisten und 15 Angreifer getötet, wie die Polizei erklärte.
Gestern meldete AFP aus Pakistan:
Ein Schusswechsel zwischen zwei NATO-Helikoptern aus Afghanistan und der pakistanischen Armee hat neue Spannungen zwischen dem Militärbündnis und Islamabad geschürt. Das pakistanische Militär warf der NATO am Dienstag vor, in den Luftraum über den Stammesgebieten an der Grenze zu Afghanistan eingedrungen zu sein. Ein westlicher Vertreter sagte hingegen, die Hubschrauber seien über Afghanistan von pakistanischer Seite beschossen worden.
Nach pakistanischer Darstellung ereignete sich der Vorfall über der Grenzregion Nord-Waziristan, die als Rückzugsort für radikalislamische Kämpfer gilt. Von einem Grenzposten zu Afghanistan sei das Feuer auf die Hubschrauber eröffnet worden, da sie den pakistanischen Luftraum verletzt hätten, teilte das Militär mit. Zuvor hatten pakistanische Armee- und Geheimdienstvertreter zunächst nicht erwähnt, dass das Feuer von eigener Seite eröffnet worden sei.