Improving the ability of women victims of violence to seek formal recourse to justice was the focus of a UN-backed TV debate in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nangarhar.
In the televised discussion, which will be aired on Wednesday on Sharq TV, Nargis FM and Sharq Radio, panellists highlighted the key recommendations of a recent UN report on access to justice for women victims of violence, and responded to audience questions, which ranged from the impact of awareness-raising programmes to the capacity of law-enforcement officials to investigate and prosecute cases of violence.
Panellist Sabrina Hamidi, the regional head of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), noted that awareness-raising programmes are making a difference, especially in rural areas. She pointed out that heinous crimes, such honour killings and Baad (the practice of offering women or girls in the process of settling a dispute), have decreased throughout the region.
Religious scholar Hamdullah Kaker, also a panellist on the show, said religious leaders have been playing a vital role in spreading positive messages about women’s rights. However, he said, more coordinated efforts involving government officials, religious scholars, civil society representatives and media outlets must be undertaken to foster lasting change in Afghan society.
The debate, organized by the regional office of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in collaboration with AIHRC and Sharq TV, is expected to reach an audience estimated at 500,000 in the eastern provinces.
UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and relevant international and local non-governmental organizations to assist in the full implementation of the fundamental freedoms and human rights provisions of the Afghan Constitution and international treaties to which Afghanistan is a State party, in particular those regarding the full enjoyment by women of their human rights.