UNAMA’s progress on women, security, and peace is preserved in the UN Security Council resolution, which reinforces the main aim of the mission to promote gender equality involving enabling the active participation of women in the Afghan community and public life. Thus, this mission plan’s promotion is guided by a set of commitments related to women’s rights that include a platform for action and the Beijing declaration, the millennium declaration, and every UN security council resolution on peace, women, and security.
It is due to wars and conflicts present over the world that have an extraordinary and disproportionate impact on girls and women. Moreover, the UN reaffirms that women play an essential role in preventing and resolving conflicts and help in peacebuilding. It also puts emphasis on full involvement and equal participation of women in conflict resolution because it can significantly contribute to the promotion and maintenance of international peace and security.
However, with the combined efforts of all sections from implementing, personnel support, and programming, UNAMA supports Afghan civil and institutions society to improve women’s meaningful contribution to Afghanistan’s political and security transaction, especially in peacebuilding agenda. The mission puts more stress on women’s active and equal participation in the public sphere because it is essential to shape the country for lasting peace.
Therefore, the Afghan government began to monitor EVAW institutions’ response towards crimes registered under the EVAW law because this law was hailed as a practical step towards strengthening the legislative for enhancing the protection of girls and women. So that they can exercise their fundamental rights easily, and the justice sector began to improve against girls and women criminalized under the elimination of violence against women law, but the system has failed girls and women in many aspects of life.
- Documentation Of Reported Cases
For more than 18 months, UNAMA documented 303 reports related to violence against girls and women. The primary purpose of documenting those reports to monitor the processing of reported crimes by the justice system in order to understand what kind of redress was delivered by the justice system to girls and women, especially from the top three state institution appointed for ensuring women have access to justice from any crime: EVAW prosecutors, departments of women’s affairs, and the family response units of Afghan national police.
Moreover, UNAMA also monitors the number of crimes of violence against girls and women reported to these justice institutions to understand the types of crimes were being committed against women and girls and how justice acted upon them. Unfortunately, due to the lack of information available thus, these reports do not provide enough data about the justice response to the crime committed against girls and women across the country. From 303 cases documented by the UNAMA, only 49 percent of total crime received complete justice in the primary court.
However, 17 percent of total crime cases were not pursued by the justice system because the victim does not file a case or withdrawn the file later. And it is mostly permitted under the EVAW law because it provides that a trial of 17 of the 22 crimes related to violence against women and girls must be based on complaints filed by the attorney or victim.
If the complainants remove the allegations or withdraw the case, then the prosecution will be stopped right there. Thus, it put a lot of burden or pressure on a woman’s mind to make the justice procedure work for them; instead, the system must work on their behalf. Due to the inability to thoroughly investigate the case and prosecute a crime because of a lack of savior participation, and most times, it is related to child marriage. Moreover, the victim is unlikely to have the ability to get recourse from the justice system.
However, 31 percent of total documented cases were not investigated and solved by the justice system due to plenty of reasons like a failure in arresting the alleged executor within three months or closing of the case with the help of informal mechanisms like mediations. The investigation and trial of rape cases have also raised a severe concern for justice actors to provide proper justice for the crime.
Moreover, details gathered by UNAMA show that medical tests unduly depend on the evidence of sexual violence, and the victim women may have to endure some examination tests without informed consent. Most cases of equal concern resulted in rape cases, and justice actors have to analyze every case, and it was assessed that these cases are related to consensual extramarital sexual relations such as Zina, violence under the penal code, which keep women from reporting rape cases.
Due to the outbreak of the current pandemic, delivering real justice has been delayed and impact women’s situation because it is seen that cases of violence against girls and women have been increased. They have difficulty in accessing safety and reporting the case. The first afghan cases of coronavirus were detected in February 2020. Since that time, continuous monitoring by UNAMA has been stopped or slow down.
Therefore, they cannot document more cases during this pandemic, which leads to an increased rate of violence against women and girls. Women are struggling to report about the violence they are facing and exercise their fundamental rights. Remarkably, in this context, the Afghan government has to take the necessary steps to prioritize efforts to protect girls and women from violence, make sure they have complete access to justice, and hold the executor accountable for the crime.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has indeed made the progress level of the justice system a bit slower, but the results are genuine. Therefore, the Afghan government should maintain a proper balance in society by delivering proper justice to women who faced violence and providing equal rights for enabling them to participate in the peace process.
Thus, women’s active participation can bring tremendous changes to society, and the Afghan government should provide women the ability to exercise equal rights.