Honor Killing Leaves Unease About Future of Afghan Women’s Rights

Photo by The Advocacy Project via flickr

A Mullah has issued fatwa, or religious edict, for the execution of a woman named Halima who has been in hiding since April. Abdul Ghafoor ordered her father to shoot Halima in front of the villagers. According to Tolo News, Halima was accused of her illicit relationship with a man in Kokchail Village of Badghis province. Ghafoor handed over a gun to Halima’s father and asked him to kill his 20-year old daughter in front of the public.

Ahmadullah ALizai, Badghiz Governor, criticized this case and said “This is cruelty and we are trying to arrest those who set-up their own courts and kill women. We have to implement stringent laws on them.”

After arresting the religious leader, the local police called Halima’s case an anti-Islamic act as well as against human rights principles. The Badghis police chief, Sharafuddin Sharaf, told reporters, The fatwa was an illegal act. Even if that woman was guilty, she should have been tried based on Afghan Islamic law and its justice system. It was an unjust act because it was an extra-judicial trial conducted without the presence of any eye-witnesses. Halima was a mother of two children who was accused of running away with her male cousin for 10 days while her husband was in Iran. Local police said that Halima’s father and the cousin are on the run.

In 2009, President Karzai issued and executive decree to reduce gender-based violence called Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) in 2009. However, conservative Afghan lawmakers objected to a version proposed in Parliament saying the law was un-Islamic. EVAW has not been passed. EVAW included criminalizes rape, child marriage, forced marriage, and other violations of women’s rights. Now many activists and member of the public are concerned about the future of women’s rights and gender-based violence after the anticipated departure of international forces and U.S. troops in 2014.

Media Resources: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty 7/31/2013; TOLO News 7/30/2013; Feminist Newswire 5/20/2013

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