UN rights expert condemns recent killing of women in Pakistan, Afghanistan

UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women Rashida Manjoo on July 18 urged the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan to end violence against women and to initiate investigations into the recent killings of two women. Fareeda Afridi, a human rights defender in Pakistan [Federally Administered Tribal Areas], was recently shot dead by two men when she was walking to her office. The second case involved a public execution of a woman [22 years old and identified only as Najiba] accused of adultery in Afghanistan [at an unidentified location north of Kabul]. [The report also noted the slaying of Hanifa Safi, local head of the Ministry by a roadside bomb in Laghman province.] Manjoo stated that such violence against women amounts to "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."

In her report [PDF] on violence against women in various countries, Manjoo concluded that measures taken by states to address gender-related violence against women have failed. She cited lack of social transformation, absence of rights-based discourse, and prevalence of sex and gender discrimination as causes. Manjoo provided six recommendations: (1) ensuring effective investigations, prosecution and sanctions; (2) guaranteeing access to adequate and effective judicial remedies; (3) treating women victims and their relatives with respect and dignity; (4) ensuring comprehensive reparations to victims and their relatives; (5) identifying certain groups of women as being at particular risk when adopting preventative measures; and (6) Mmodifying the social and cultural patterns and eliminating prejudices, customary practices and other practices based on the idea of the inferiority or superiority of either of the sexes, and on stereotyped roles for men and women.

From Jurist, July 19. Used with permission.

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